"Stevengraphs" as a title was invented by Thomas Stevens and first appears on the backing paper for his bookmarks in 1876.
He called his factory "The Stevengraph Works", and later referred to his woven silk pictures in the same way when they first appeared in 1879. It is evident Stevens intended this title to include all his bookmarks, pictures, portraits and silk postcards too.
In the late 1800's, the silk ribbon weavers of Coventry, England, were experiencing very difficult trading conditions due to changing fashions and cheap imports from abroad. Several weavers had already diversified into related activities, and Thomas Stevens was one of these, with his Stevengraphs.
In more modern times, the Stevengraph title started to be applied to all woven silk items no matter when produced, by other Victorian silk weavers such as Grant, Welch & Lenton, Bollans, etc., and by 20th Century weavers such as Brocklehurst-Whiston (BWA).
The objective of this web site is to be an educational resource where Collectors and anyone interested generally in Stevengraphs can identify them, and gain an awareness and understanding of all the silks woven in England from Victorian times up to the early 1990's.
This site has more than 2,600 quality images, arranged in alphabetical catalogues for each weaver, and recording 3,039 individual titles. From the links below, you will find that more than 77% of the Stevens bookmark titles now have images and more than 84% of his picture titles. Similarly, two-thirds of the Grant bookmark titles now have images, and 77% of his postcard titles.
The purpose of this site . . . .
Apart from self published picture books, the only information relating to Stevengraphs and other Victorian silks was in books published between the late 1950's and 1978, and these have long ceased to be available, other than as scarce collectors items.
The most comprehensive of these books was Geoffrey Godden's Stevengraphs and other Victorian silk pictures, published in 1971. The book itself though is now very scarce.
Our knowledge though of all the Victorian silks has increased significantly since Godden's book was published . . . .
In 1999, www.VictorianSilk.com was created to record all the known woven silk titles. In 2014, the web site was completely restructed, and the name changed to this, Stevengraph-Silks.com site. This web site now replaces all the books as the definitive list and catalogue of all the Stevengraph portraits, pictures, bookmarks and silk postcards.
Godden recorded approximately 1,307 individual titles. By contrast, this web site catalogues a total of 3,039 titles across all British weavers, and features quality images for 70.2% of those titles.
This comprehensive catalogue of Stevens silks, together with those made by other manufacturers such as W.H. Grant and Brocklehurst Whiston, is fully supported by scanned images. More than three-quarters of the Stevens bookmark titles now have images, as too do 84% of the picture titles. Similarly, two-thirds of both the Grant and Welch & Lenton silk bookmark titles also have images.
Whilst some areas, such as Brocklehurst Whiston, are fully catalogued with images of every known woven picture, there are nevertheless previously unrecorded silks yet to be catalogued successfully. This site will hence inherently grow, both as new titles are discovered, and with contributions of images from YOU, the viewer and user of this site.