Details of the Golden spider-silk cape. Image credit Paul Grover

A rare Golden spider-silk textile will be on display from today at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The Telegraph reports that –

The four metre long woven textile was made from the silk of more than a million female Golden Orb spiders collected in the highlands of Madagascar. It took 80 people five years to collect the spiders, and the naturally golden hand-woven brocaded textile took over four years to create. According to experts at the Victoria and Albert Museum, spider’s silk has not been woven since 1900, when a textile was created for the Paris Exposition Universelle – but that no longer survives. This will be the first time spider silk has been exhibited in Europe since.

The earliest recorded weave using the silk of spiders dates from 1709, made by a Frenchman, Francois-Xavier Bon de Saint Hilaire, who successfully produced gloves and stockings and supposedly a full suit of clothes for King Louis XIV.

The Golden spider-silk textile will be on display in the V&A’s Studio Gallery from 25 January to 5 June 2012. Full article here.

A Golden-spider silk textile at the Art Institute of Chicago