In 1978, Cooper Hewitt received a gift of twenty-two jacquard woven souvenir portrait ribbons from Lisa Taylor, the museum’s director at the time. The series was produced by the Warner Woven Label Company, Inc. of Paterson, New Jersey, which every year made a single souvenir ribbon based on a famous master portrait painting in Western art. The series likely started in the 1950s for an intended audience of Warner clients. The ribbon for 1963 was Portrait of Henry VIII (c. 1540) by the workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497-1543). The initials “H.H.” in the lower-right corner stand for Howard Huffsschmidt, one of Warner’s textile designers. Undoubtedly, the series gave the label and ribbon manufacturer an opportunity to demonstrate its technical prowess by producing a highly-detailed woven portrait in a small format – a rectangle approximately three by four inches. The Warner Woven Label Company changed its name to Warner-Artex, Inc. in the late 1970s.
Kimberly Randall is the Collections Manager of the Textile Department at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.