Textiles: 1600 - 1800

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Join us on this history of textiles course to learn about the carpets, tapestries, embroideries, woven silks and printed cottons that were the status symbols of this period, furnishing the homes and brightening the wardrobes of the wealthy.

Learn from our world-class experts wherever you are, whenever suits you: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time. You can experience the full breadth and depth of the V&A's collections with more than 40 hours of study over 12 weeks. Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials, lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials are available in our secure Microsoft Teams environment for up to 12 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a thing. And finally, join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

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course photo
Portrait of Course Director Jennifer Wearden

Course Director
Jennifer Wearden

Jennifer Wearden was Senior Curator of Textiles in the Department of Furniture, Textiles & Fashion until 2005. With experience of the textile industry in Lancashire and 28 years working with the textile collection in the V&A, she has co-authored several popular V&A books and has devised and run highly successful courses on textiles and dress.

V&A courses have been a lifeline through lockdown, and now beyond it. So many different paths to follow from recommendations from Jennifer or fellow students. I cannot thank you enough. V&A Academy Online Student - Silk course, Spring 2022

Course overview

The two hundred years covered in this textiles course were centuries of fierce rivalry among European countries for trade and for the control of foreign lands. It was also a period of great social and economic change during which England began to play a major role in the production of textiles, capitalising on the adoption of ideas from other cultures and poaching skilled workmen from other countries. The introduction of cotton in the eighteenth century and the development of textile printing revolutionised the use of patterned textiles, making them no longer the preserve of the super-rich. In this period we begin to know more about the textile possessions of moderately affluent people and more about domestic needlework and we begin to see the dramatic effects of the Industrial Revolution.


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V&A Academy Online courses are built using the latest Microsoft software. Tune in to expert lectures live, or catch up later on demand. Download handouts and presentations. Join the discussion in a secure, closed class environment, wherever you are.

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Online course: Textiles: 1600 - 1800

11 January 2024 - 28 March 2024


Call to book +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

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