Joseph-Marie Jacquard's Visite de Mgr le Duc D’Aumale à la Croix-Rousse, dans l’atelier de M. Carquillat, le 24 Août 1841. Lyon: manufactured by Didier, Petit et Cie, woven by Michel-arie Carquillat, 1844. It is offered by Peter Harrington Rare Books.

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Devised by Joseph-Marie Jacquard and patented in 1804, the loom allowed the production of complex woven patterns, simplifying the process of textile manufacture. The user would insert a series of punched cards, ‘coded’ to produce a certain pattern, with hundreds of cards - but just one worker - required for elaborate designs.

The technique was later adopted by Charles Babbage, who used punched-card technology as a form of data storage in the earliest days of computer machines.

This picture woven in 1844 shows a scene from several years earlier when Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale and some of his entourage visited the workshop of Michel-Marie Carquillat.

The men are shown admiring the famous woven portrait of Jacquard made on his famous invention with the loom and punched-card attachment (visible in the detail below) towering over them.


A detail of the Jacquard loom.

Currently on display at Peter Harrington’s Fulham Road gallery, it is available for £16,500.

Networks of Knowledge comprises more than 100 items all reflecting developments in information technology.