"Stevengraph" 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 (sometimes referred to as Stevensgraph) started to be applied to all woven silk items produced by other Victorian silk weavers such as Grant, Welch & Lenton, Bollans, and J & J Cash 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 present day.
This site contains 5,555 quality images, arranged in alphabetical catalogues for each weaver. There is recorded 50 named weavers, with a total of 5,249 individual titles.
The purpose of this site . . . .
Apart from recent self published single topic picture books, the only information relating to Stevengraphs and other silk weavings was in books published between the late 1950's and 1978, and these have long ceased to be available, other than as collectors items.
The most comprehensive of these books was Geoffrey Godden's Stevengraphs and other Victorian silk pictures, published in 1971, although the book itself is now scarce.
Our knowledge of all the Victorian silks though has increased significantly since Godden's book was published, and this site now contains a comprehensive, up to date list and catalogue of all woven stevengraphs.
Godden recorded approximately 1,200 individual titles. By contrast, this site catalogues a total of 5,249 titles across all British weavers, and features quality images for 84.2% of those titles.
This comprehensive catalogue of Stevens silks, together with those made by other manufacturers such as J & J Cash, Welch & Lenton, Bollans, and Caldicott etc., are fully supported with scanned images. Some areas, such as Brocklehurst Whiston, have images of every known woven picture, whilst in other areas 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.