“Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass"
The RISD Museum houses one of this country’s finest collections of textiles and clothing from around the world. Spanning 1500 BCE to now, these extensive holdings include more than 26,000 objects created by professional and amateur makers, known and unknown.
The exhibits in the Angelo Donghia Costume and Textiles Gallery are curated to encourage the study and creative interpretation of a broad range of objects by juxtaposing different cultures, time periods, and media. Such comparisons illustrate the ebb and flow of ideas, aesthetics, and techniques; issues integral to the history of design, craftsmanship, trade, and culture; and current artistic practice. The gallery opened in summer 2014 with the inaugural exhibition Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass, featuring floral textiles and clothing that reveal the importance and versatility of flowers in design language, and highlight a network of design communication that remains important to this day.
The adjacent Donghia Study Center provides a place for students—and the public, when classes are not in session—to closely study and discuss objects and worldwide textile innovations. More than 20 large study drawers offer protected access and close views of garments, textiles, and accessories.
Support for the RISD Museum provided in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and private funders.
“Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass” “The Garden,” Andrew Marvell (1621–1678)
Floral motifs long have been a mainstay of textile design. By the early 15th century, as expanded trade routes connected the world in ways never before experienced, patterning burgeoned into a hothouse of new and exotic species. Design, art, science, and trade followed the same paths, mingling to yield innovations on many fronts. Botanists exulted in a new wealth of cultivated plant varieties whose forms were documented in prints, many of which served as inspiration for textile pattern design.
Made in Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Persia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, the works in this gallery reveal not only the importance and versatility of flowers in design language, but also a network of design communication that remains important to this day.
Spanning 1500 BCE to now, the RISD Museum’s extensive costume and textiles holdings include more than 26,000 objects. The displays in this gallery are curated to encourage the study and creative interpretation of a broad range of objects by juxtaposing different cultures, time periods, and media.