The Herbert has probably the finest collection of woven silk pictures and bookmarks in the country. A few silk pictures were produced in the 1850s and 1860s, but they were made famous by the firm of Thomas Stevens of Coventry, which made their first silk pictures or Stevengraphs, as they called them, in 1879. From then until the early 20th century Stevens produced around 200 different designs. They include portraits of royalty, politicians, sports stars and military figures, as well as pictures of sporting events, historical and classical subjects, buildings and transport.
Another Coventry firm, WH Grant, also made silk pictures from the 1880s. The subjects were very similar to those made by Stevens. More recently J and J Cash have produced a number of silk pictures from the mid 1970s, including several series of birds and butterflies.
John Caldicott of Coventry registered the first design for a woven bookmark in 1862. But it was once again Thomas Stevens who made a success of woven bookmarks, producing about 500 different designs. Woven bookmarks were also produced by WH Grant andJ and J Cash.
The Herbert's collection contains examples of most of the silks produced by Stevens and Grant.