Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Accessories, Part 12: Wrapping up Shawls (see what I did there?)

Now that I've gotten that out of my system... ☺

I’m doing something a little different in this installment on Regency accessories: bypassing the images from fashion prints, lovely as they are, and looking at an example of two of the real thing.

These are a pair of 19th century shawls that I own. Alas, I don’t have an exact date for either, but the height of popularity for shawls like this peaked in mid century. Unfortunately, I also have no idea where they might be from. Originally shawls of this design, with their distinctive teardrop-shaped boteh designs (boteh means “shrub” in Persian), came from Asia, especially the Kashmir region, where they were woven from the warm, silky hair of goats, first wild, then as demand grew, domesticated. They soon became so popular across Europe that European manufacturers began to create their own “Kashmir” shawls. The best of these were manufactured in the Scottish town of Paisley, which in turn lent the name we know today to the design.

Both of these shawls are made of a fine wool; the dark one is especially smooth. The undecorated parts of both shawls are twill-woven.

The cream-colored shawl, with its designs of bluish-green, red, gold-brown, and black, is square, measures 66 inches along a side. Does it perhaps remind you a little bit of this one?

Or this one?

The dark shawl is definitely not in as good condition as the cream-colored one--it's splitting in places, mostly in the undecorated area in the center-- and had its fringe chopped off at some point. But the pattern of the weave is gorgeous; with the careful placement of its six colors (mostly red and orange with bits of black, green, cream, and light blue) it looks more like dozens of colors. This shawl, also square, is a bit larger than the other, measuring 70 inches on a side (it's folded into quarters here.)

This one is called to mind...though I suspect that the darker color palette on this shawl means it dates slightly later to the Victorian era, when darker colors were more fashionable.

I hope you liked a quick look at the "real thing."  We'll be moving on to an different Accessory sometime soon...

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