Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Regency Fabrics, Part 9

Here’s another post in our ongoing series on Regency fabrics.

As I have in previous posts, I’ll be examining actual fabric samples glued into several earlier editions of Ackermann’s Repository, samples supplied by the manufacturers and published by Ackermann in order to boost the British cloth-making industry at a time when exporting British goods to Europe was almost impossible because of the Napoleonic war. I'll give you a close-up scan of each sample, the published description if available, and my own observations of the color, weight, condition, and similarity to present-day materials, to give you as close a picture as possible of what these fabrics are like. So here we go!

Today we have four fabrics from February 1810; their overall condition appears to be excellent.

No. 1. A royal embossed satin: a splendid and elegant article for robes and pelisses. The trimmings for robes of this material should be of properly contrasted fur or thread lace. It is sold by Harris, Moody, and Co. silk-weavers, Pall-Mall.

My comments: Vibrant is the word that comes to mind! The fuchsia is almost too bright against the navy background. The pattern is woven in; this is a very finely woven silk with a noticeable sheen (which unfortunately has not scanned well) and I’m sure would drape beautifully, but it seems to be of too light a weight to make a good fur-trimmed pelisse!
No 2.  A superfine imperial orange bombazeen, particularly calculated for ladies dresses. Black velvet and silver trimming are most pleasing and appropriate ornaments for robes of this article. It is sold, of every colour, by Messrs. Waithman and Everington, No. 104, Fleet-street.

My comments: Hmm. An orange bombazine with black velvet trim would be very Halloween, wouldn’t it? ☺ I’m having a hard time coming up with a comparable modern fabric to compare this to: the fabric looks almost like a fine linen but is rougher almost scratchy (I’m wondering if it isn’t a silk/wool blend as it does have a bit of a sheen like silk.) It’s a fine weight and would have been attractive for ladies’ gowns.

No. 3. An imitative angora shawl dress, of blended green and amber. Amidst the variety of these articles for some time exhibited, we have seen none more entitled than the present to the attention of those females who wish to comprise, at once, fashion and utility. It is sold by Messrs. Brisco and Powley, No. 103, New Bond-street, from 38s to 50s per dress.

My comments: Another nice dress material of what appears to be a fine wool, with the dark yellow and white vaguely botanical pattern woven in. Though wool it's lightweight enough to have wanted a lining fabric, and has a lovely soft hand. Perfect for a morning dress!

No 4. An India rib permanent green print. A patent has lately been obtained by Hewson, Higgins, and Ilett, for printing green on cotton goods, a discovery never before offered to the public. Figures are printed of all descriptions of ladies’ wear. Sundry cotton goods for waistcoats are printed exclusively for Kestevens, York-street, Covent-garden. The pieces are all marked on the edges, “Patent fast green.” 

My comments: I wonder if this is one of the waistcoat fabrics--it's stiff and heavy and sturdily-enough woven to almost resemble a pinwale corduroy, though without the nap. The printing is sharp and clear.

And a brief reminder--don't forget our Cranford group read coming up the week of March 29. Details are here...and don't forget that free ebooks of Cranford are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Project Gutenberg.


Regencyresearcher said...

The patent color green is interesting. Jane Austen complains of some colors bleeding when laundered. Also, I think I read some where that the color green was often made from arsenic-- or was that only in wall paper?

Marissa Doyle said...

I actually posted about the dangers of green dye late last year...and no, it wasn't just wallpaper. http://www.nineteenteen.blogspot.com/2015/11/death-and-dyeing.html

QNPoohBear said...

Wow! Who knew they had hot pink fabric back then? That's pretty loud. I don't like the orange either though. Of the four, I like the India rib permanent green print the nest but it doesn't sound as if it's dress weight material.

Marissa Doyle said...

No, it's definitely not dress weight! The orange is actually not bad--if I remember correctly, in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice Lizzy had a dress that color, and it was rather handsome.

But yes, that pink is something! Again, it's not a look you'll see in fashion prints, which makes me begin to question to what degree we can take fashion prints as truly accurate reflections of what was being worn...or, in turn, how much these fabric samples were p=being purchased for wear.