Producers and Wholesalers of Damasks, Brocades, Brocatelles, Tapestries and Trimmings for the manufacture of Church Vestments, Legal & Academic Wear, Film, Television & Theatrical Costumes and Bridal Wear
M. Perkins & Son was established in 1813 initially to manufacture fringes and other trimmings for ecclesiastical vestments. The business was successful and it was subsequently decided to branch out into the production of damasks, brocades, brocatelles and tapestries specifically designed for use in the manufacture of Church vesture... In this they were assisted by their geographical location - their premises in Curtain Road, Shoreditch were set in the heart of the old Huguenot textile producing area of East London.
The halcyon days of the company came in the late 1890s with its association with Sir John Ninian Comper, arguably one of the greatest of the Victorian Gothic Revival architects. Comper commissioned 7 designs from the company - Cathedral, Jay, Lily, Minster, Pear, St. Hubert and Van der Weyden. Happily, though most of these designs are currently unavailable from stock we still retain all the original artwork and they could be woven to order at any time.
The influence of the architects of the Gothic Revival movement of the 19th century (Gilbert Scott, Pugin, Bodley, Comper) was very profound and its influences are still to be found today in the designs favoured by churches throughout the UK and the USA. Designers of this period, and their followers, drew their inspiration from the works of the 15th Century Netherlandish painters such as Rogier Van der Weyden and Gerard David and the Venetian and Florentine painters such as Giovanni Bellini and Fra Angelico. All of these artists worked on commissions for important families and frequently incorporated detailed textile designs in their works.
These designs would have been copied from the textiles in the palaces of their patrons. There was a close connection between the Netherlands and Italy in that Netherlandish artists often visited Italy and Flemish fabrics were greatly sought after by the Italian nobility and were extensively used in the decoration of their palaces. The net result was that some of the fabric designs which the artists would have seen would have come from the Flemish textile centre in Brugge and some of the Italian centres of Venice, Bologna, Florence, Milan and Lucca.
Hence a strong Italian/Flemish influence will be found in a number of Perkins' designs, many of which can be traced back to their 15th Century origins.
We would welcome you to browse through our range, most of which are available from stock.