Natalie Rothstein

In writing about Anna Maria Garthwaite yesterday, I could not help but think of, and remember, the late Natalie Rothstein, the former Deputy Keeper of the Department of Textiles at the V&A, who devoted the best part of her long career at the V&A to the study of Anna Maria Garthwaite’s textile designs.   The granddaughter of Lenin’s ambassador to Persia and daughter of ardent North London socialists, she joined the staff of the V&A as a Museum Assistant straight from Oxford in 1952.   She wrote a long and magisterial Master’s dissertation on the ‘The Silk Industry in London 1702-1766’ which should really have been published and was always said to have been an enthusiastic scooter rider, having ridden motorcycles in her youth.


2 thoughts on “Natalie Rothstein

  1. pbmum says:

    As a teenager in the late 70s/early 80s I made great use of the V&A textile collection and, living in Stepney, was a frequent visitor to the Spitalfields silk collection which was then displayed at the Bethnal Green Museum. This was before the museum decided to concentrate on all things childhood. I remember V&A education department arranged trips to Dennis Severs house (while he was still alive) and to a silk weaving factory in Braintree. I got to see and do some fantastic things. I went on to do a degree in textile technology in Manchester, at a time when young people from my background were, in general, not going to university.

    I am pleased that my teenage daughter recently got to go on a school trip to the wonderful V&A Clothworkers’ Centre which is clearly doing a lot to encourage interest in textiles. From your description, and from her Guardian obituary, I guess that Natalie Rothstein would have been thrilled by what has been put in place there.

    Best wishes,


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