Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Regency Fabrics, Part 31

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 June 1813 issue of Ackermann’s Repository. The overall condition of my copy is excellent; the page itself is free of foxing and is only slightly toned. The samples have not fared quite as well: the chintz seems to have suffered some toning (I think), and the patterned one has frayed.

No. 1 and 2. A neat and useful article, from Allen’s celebrated furniture warehouse, Pall-Mall, where may be seen the most extensive and elegant assortment of chintz, and other articles of furniture in this line. Mr. Allen has recently built and opened a most spacious and elegant saloon, where, by a very ingenious invention, the printed and cotton furniture is displayed at one view, to the greatest advantage, and so as to afford an easy decision as to effect. The present specimen, though very neat, is by no means on a par with those displayed at this celebrated warehouse. Light blue, bright yellow, and full pink, or rose-colour, with corresponding fringes, are the linings best calculated to exhibit this print to advantage.

My comments: This is a very heavily glazed chintz, to the point that it feels almost like vinyl shelf paper. I’m not quite able to decide whether the somewhat mottled background behind the printed designs is intentional or not: all the other versions I’ve seen of this page are similar, so it is either intentional or they all have faded or toned in the same fashion. The fabric itself is finely and tightly woven, with evenly spun threads. And I would like to know exactly what the “ingenious invention” was for the display of their fabrics!

No. 3 A specimen of British King Cobb; a new article with which we have been favoured by Mr. Milland, of the East India warehouse, Cheapside. It is an exact imitation of that splendid article worn by the Great Mogul. It is calculated for evening robes, producing a most pleasing effect by candle-light. Pelisses, à la Persian, lined with sarsnet, of a tastefully contrasted shade, and ornamented with feather-trimming, and worn with Asiatic turbans of the same, produce a very unique and becoming effect.

My comments:  I’ve not been able to discover what “King Cobb” is, but this is a lovely piece of fabric—a very handsome twill woven silk with a raised diagonal stripe, printed with a floral pattern (unfortunately, the stripes arent showing up well in this scan.) It is light in weight but reasonably opaque due to the fine, tight weave.

No. 4 is a sample of the new Imperial cotton twine shirting. Many of our readers having wished to obtain specimens, together with the price of this very useful article, we have procured one from the proprietor, just as it comes from the bleach-field. It is sold, stamped, at Millard’s East India warehouse, Cheapside, and at no other house. The present quality is 2s. 6d. per yard; and, in due proportion, at 3s. 6d., 3s.,2s., and 1s. 6d., being not more than half the price of Irish linens, &c. and of equal fineness of texture. It is wove in 7-8th widths for ladies, and 4-4ths for gentlemen’s wear, and is particularly well adapted for slips.—At this warehouse may also be purchased, muslins of the lowest value, for draperies only, up to the Indian shawl of 100 guineas. The most curious Indian muslins, up to the exquisitely fine Saccarallie, are regularly selling at this extensive establishment, where the ingenious manufactures of Valenciennes, Brussels, Germany, Russia, China, the Indies, and the sister kingdoms (both for use and ornament), are to be met with.

My comments: This is, to me, the most interesting of the fabric samples this month, just because it was used for such basic garments as men’s shirts and ladies’ slips and underdresses. In close-up it greatly resembles linen as the threads are just slightly unevenly spun, giving it more of a texture. It feels quite sturdy, which only makes sense considering its use.

What do you think of this month’s fabrics?

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