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 May 1810; their overall condition appears to be good, though a few show brown age stains.
No. 1. A French knotted muslin, calculated for morning wraps and the Austrian frock. No introduction of needlework or lace can be admitted with propriety into this rich article, except an edging round the bottom of the latter, and down the sides of the former. This novel article is sold by Messrs. Waithman and Everington, corner of New Bridge-street, Fleet-street.
My comments: Being white muslin, of course any dress made of this material would require an underdress or lining...but the ground fabric itself is of a fine, fairly tight weave. I wish I knew more about the manufacture of fabrics, because when I look at the reverse side, I wonder if the knotting was hand or machine done. I suspect hand done since there are no threads between the groups of French knots, which would make this a rich article indeed!
No. 2. A fancy convent striped muslin; an article entirely new, and offering a neat and appropriate change for the morning or domestic habit. Pelisses for young ladies are occasionally formed of this simple material, and for undress are, perhaps, more genteel than when composed of sarsnet. We are indebted for this article to the house of Messrs. John Satterfield and Co., Manchester (where only it can be had), and who, our readers may recollect, furnished us with a beautiful cotton velvet introduced in our last January number.
My comments: The faint diamond pattern woven into this fabric makes it look almost like a waffle-weave fabric, but it’s anything but that—indeed, it is very smooth and finely woven, and quite light-weight—lovely for a summer frock.
No. 3. An imperial waved lilac shot sarsnet. This very fashionable and seasonable article is alike calculated for the military spencer, pelisse, and robe. The high gown, with Arminian stomacher and collar, or with French aprons of Paris net, are exceedingly attractive when formed of this article. It is sold by Messrs. D. and P. Cooper, Pall-Mall.
My comments: The color is more dusty rose than lilac, but that may be due to fading—after all, this is an over two hundred year old piece of fabric! The pattern is handsomely woven, the hand silky, and though it is light-weight I expect it would drape beautifully.
No.4. A permanent green shawl print for gentlemen’s waistcoats. The extreme delicacy and coolness of this fancy article is too obvious to need a comment; we shall therefore only add, that the extra-ordinary demand for the permanent green print, since its first introduction in out number for February has been unprecedented in any newly manufactured article, and arises from the utility and qualities, as well as from the novelty of the article, which is highly creditable to the taste and perseverance of the inventors, Messrs. Kestevens and Co., York-street, Covent-Garden, where only it is sold.
My comments: A very sturdy, slightly stiff, ribbed fabric, almost the weight of what we would use today for trousers (though not actually a twill); the printing is clear and sharp and has an almost a foulard-like appearance. Very dapper indeed for gentlemen’s waistcoats!