This striped fringe was made for the trimming of curtains or furniture upholstery. This type of fringing was very popular in Britain during the second half of the 19th century. The four colours shown here - tan, plum, ivory and olive green interspersed with narrow black stripes - are strong, yet are opulent shades which would have fitted equally well with heavy woollen or plain silk damask curtains or with more complicated brocades and multi-coloured embroideries.
Fringing was seldom designed or chosen to precisely match the colours of the fabric or furniture it was trimming. More frequently it was chosen as a contrast to help emphasise the more prominent features - the form or colour of the curtains or furniture.
This fringe was given with other small samples taken from a large collection of passementerie (furniture trimming) dating from the 17th to the 19th century, amassed by the donor, F.C. Harper. He had collected examples from items of furniture, often from artistically significant furniture and important large houses. When selling the collection he offered the Museum small pieces cut from a selection of these.