Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Regency Fabrics, Part 16

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.

Today’s three samples are from the October 1810 issue of Ackermann’s Repository. The overall condition of my copy is moderate; while the physical integrity of the fabric samples is good, there’s a lot of spotting on the top sample that obscures the pattern somewhat—mildew, perhaps? The other two samples are in good condition.

Here we go!

No. 1 and 2. A most lively and appropriate furniture print, from Mr. Allen’s 61, Pall-Mall, adapted principally for drawing room curtains and sofas. Boudoir draperies have a most pleasing effect when composed of this article. The most happily contrasted linings are, shades of green, blue, and purple, with variegated fringes to correspond.

My comments: I will confess that my first impression of this pattern was a memory of the little circular gummed reinforcement labels for three-hole punched paper (remember those?) The fabric itself is very finely and evenly woven, with a smooth glazed chintz finish and sufficient weight to mean this fabric definitely draped well. But, um, paired with green, blue, or purple lining? Not in my boudoir, thank you very much!

No. 3. This is an article very superior of its order, forming a neat and delicate intermediate kind of robe, and procured at the most modest expence [sic], being offered from 8s. to 14s. the dress, at Millard’s, in the city. The proprietor of this fashionable resort, which we have had occasion to notice in the foregoing numbers of our Repository, has, we are informed from the best authority, succeeded in forming connections with the great commercial cities in Russia, India, China, South America, Germany, France, Spain, Scotland, and Ireland; and thus rendered the establishment a grand depôt of every article which in elegance or utility can render a mansion comfortable or attractive, as far as relates to the requisite and ornamental furniture for drawing-rooms, eating and sleeping-rooms, nursery, &c. Ladies’ dresses of every degree, and of a superior description, as well as those for general use, are exhibited in abundance; and selections for forming new establishments made be readily made, and executed without delay. Here the nobility and gentry, the merchant, the country trader, and the public, are regularly supplied; and we cannot withhold the just portion of merit which belongs to the proprietor, whose persevering industry, ingenuity, and taste, have completed a depot on so vast and useful a scale. The assemblage of valuable India shawls, and of those manufactured in this country, are, we understand, immense in this establishment.

My comments: Well, it might have been nice to know a little more about the fabric and a little less about the industrious and ingenious (and unnamed!) proprietor in whose establishment this superior article could be purchased! It’s a very fine (and sheer—would definitely require a lining) muslin striped with a thin double line, of red and and white, twilled. Very dainty for a morning dress, I’m sure. Oh—did you notice the reference to the fact that the proprietor appeared to be trading with France? I would have thought that the little matter of being at war with that country might have interfered with trade, but evidently not!

No. 4 is a neat and appropriate article for gentlemen’s waistcoats, and is styled silk toilonet. It is ¾ yard wide, and sold by Messrs. Smith and Ash, fancy waistcoat warehouse, Prince’s-street, Soho, facing Coventry-street. The taste, utility, and reasonableness of this article, are too obvious to need further comment.

My comments: Hmm. I can’t help suspecting that further comment wasn’t forthcoming because the actual samples hadn’t been delivered to Ackermann’s offices before print time, but maybe I’m being cynical. It’s a curious fabric, without any modern counterpart that I can think of: heavier in weight, rather stiff, and in texture somewhere between flocked (like a velvet) and sueded, but not particularly soft to the touch. There’s a bar pattern woven in at wide intervals, of a single thread each of charcoal, brick red, and white. 

And did you think I forgot? The winners of our commenter drawing from my birthday party post last week are...

For the $25 Amazon gift card, veedham!
and for one of my print books (your choice),  mamafrog!

Ladies, if you would, please contact me via marissa @ marissadoyle dot com (removes spaces etc.etc.) so we can arrange for you to receive your prizes. Thank you all for commenting...and reading NineteenTeen!

(Oh, and a postscript: this is the last week By Jove will be on sale for 99 cents, so if you've been dithering on picking it up, now's the time to grab it before the price goes back up. You can snag it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple's iBookstore, and Kobo, as well as at Book View Cafe's own store (in both epub and mobi formats.)

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