Circle of Constance Howard
British School, circa 1950
Cats and Flowers in a Conservatory
Applique work picture
60 by 50.5 cm., 23 ¾ by 20 in.
(frame size 76 by 66 cm., 30 by 26 in.)
With Frost & Reed, 1950;
Mrs H H Budd (?).
The present work, glazed and in this original frame, was with the prominent London fine art dealers Frost and Reed in 1950 suggesting it was a work by a leading exponent of the newly fashionable and artistically acknowledged group of British textile artists and embroiderers. The modernised art form was pioneered by Constance Howard (1910-2000) who taught embroidery at Goldsmiths College. The piece predates Howard’s most famous piece, The Country Wife, a large textile hanging for the Country Pavilion of the Festival of Britain exhibition of 1951 (now in the collection of the National Needlework Archive). She was assisted in the work by some of her students, including Mary Quant. In 1953 Goldsmith’s established a separate department for embroidery, later making Howard the Department Head. The advanced design and use of different stitches, needlework techniques and fabrics suggests this may be the work of one of Howard’s students, if not by her own hand.