BAUDOUIN, Christopher

Christopher Baudouin (1662-1724) 

Christopher Baudouin was a renowned silk pattern designer. He used flowers, leaves and natural forms, beloved by the Huguenots, in his designs. James Leman, the silk designer and Master Weaver who was his protégé, wove Christopher’s patterns into silk for Matthew Vernon, a Silk Mercer by Royal Appointment. Anna Maria Garthwaite, one of the most famous textile designers of the period, collected some of his designs. The V&A has a collection of some of his hand drawn patterns.

Christopher Baudouin was born in Tours in 1662, where he was baptised in the Protestant Temple. Since King Louis XI set up the silk industry there in 1466, Tours was one of the most important silk weaving areas in France. Over half the population of the town was involved in silk manufacture. Christopher’s uncle and godfather, Claude Baudouin, was a Master Silk Weaver in the town. The Huguenots who left Tours and settled in Spitalfields brought their skills to an already established silk industry. 

The first record of Christopher Baudouin in England is of his marriage in 1683 when he married Françoise Prevost, at St James’ Church, Duke’s Place, Aldgate, in the City of London, which was notorious for clandestine marriages, without licence or banns. The young couple were reprimanded for this which is noted in the records of the French Huguenot church in Threadneedle Street. Christopher and Françoise had seven children, five of whom survived infancy. On the baptism record of his son, Gabriel Salomon, in 1700, Christopher’s occupation is given as “pattern drawer”. 

Christopher Baudouin was granted denization in 1699/1700. The act of denization granted certain rights to immigrants residing in England. In 1709, Christopher, Françoise and their two daughters,   Françoise and Margueritte, became naturalized subjects. In 1714 he signed a petition from “the gentlemen and principal inhabitants of the Hamlet of Spitalfields”, where he lived in Paternoster Row. This was for creating a new parish of Spitalfields, separate from Stepney, with a new church, Christ Church, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor. 

He died in 1724, aged 62, and was buried at St Dunstan’s, Stepney on 14 September. 


The Early Silk Weavers of London and Spitalfields (1520-1720) by Richard Edmunds 

Huguenot Heritage by Robin Gwynn 

Spitalfields by Dan Cruickshank 


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