Stevengraph collections on the block Nov. 3

BELLE PLAINE, Iowa – Two large collections of the woven silk images known as Stevengraphs were sold Nov. 3 by Tubaugh Auctions.

The auction included almost 200 lots of pictures, postcards, bookmarks and ribbons. Many of the pieces bear historical images and date from the late 19th century.

The silk pictures known as Stevengraphs are named for Thomas Stevens (1828-1888) of Coventry, England.

Stevens had learned the ribbon weaver’s trade – which flourished in Coventry for 150 years – and established his own firm in 1854 using the Jacquard loom. The loom controlled a series of loops and pulleys to weaveVictoria.jpg patterns in textiles. Stevens refined the loom to create highly detailed silk pieces with a three-dimensional effect.

Stevengraph ribbon marking the 50th anniversary
of Queen Victoria’s reign.

By the late 1880s he had produced more than 900 items, including bookmarks, sachets, birthday verses, Christmas and New Year greetings, calendars, fans, valentines, ladies’ neckties and sashes, fraternal items and “pictures suitable for framing.”

Stevens demonstrated his craft at public expositions, including the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876. His was the best known of several companies producing the images.

peeping-tom.jpgThe Stevengraph Collectors’ Association is based in Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y., and has members in Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.

Framed Stevengraph showing
“The Peeping Tom of Coventry.”

The Tubaugh sale will be held at the Community Center in Belle Plaine. For more information, call 319-444-2413 or visit