Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Regency Fabrics, Part 34

 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 1813 issue of Ackermann’s Repository. The overall condition of my copy is excellent, though (like our last fabric print) a little closely trimmed on the outside edge; the page itself is free of foxing and is only slightly toned on the edges. The samples themselves are in very good condition, with perhaps a bit of discoloration from the glue used to affix it to the page in the top sample.

Here we go!

No. 1 and 2 is an olive chintz for furniture, designed by Mr. Allen expressly for her Grace the Duchess of Bedford, and is to ornament several of the rooms in the cottage now building in Devonshire. The linings best adapted to this lively and elegant article, are, blue, pea-green, and rose colour, with variegated fringes to correspond. We offer this pattern as a sample of those numerous and beautiful articles for furniture, which are exhibited at the splendid gallery of Mr. Allen, of Pall-Mall; where purchasers may meet with the most fashionable variety, and at the most reasonable prices.

My comments: It’s a little hard to see the original olive color here because of the brown foxing, but it was a clear, light-ish shade complemented by the various pinks of the flowers. It’s also possible to see, if you hold the sample about two inches from your nose, that the green of the printed leaves in the floral cluster was created by printing in blue and then yellow (or the reverse—it’s difficult to say) rather than with green dye, which, as we have seen in other posts, was not an easy color to obtain before the advent of artificial dyes. The weave is fairly even and tight (as is usual with chintz), and the glazing is not too heavy but has a nice sheen to it.


No. 3 is a new Manchester manufacture for gentlemen’s waistcoats. The lively contrast of the stripe and ground, will sufficiently recommend this article for autumnal wear. It is sold by Kestevens and Co. York-street, Covent-Garden.

My comments: I like this very well indeed. It’s a sturdy fabric: the warp threads are three-ply while the weft is single. The wider, pale apricot stripes of the ground fabric are about a half-inch wide, and the red and blue stripes are set off by a few threads of white that add some dimensionality to them. It would indeed make a handsome waistcoat; a hundred or so years later, I could see this as a shirtwaist dress worn by a Bright Young Thing for a luncheon party.


No.4 is a rich lilac-shot figured sarsnet, calculated for spencers, pelisses, mantles, and bodices. It admits trimmings of silk of the same shade, thread lace, white net, and white beads; which judgment and taste will appropriate to the article, composed so as to produce a becoming and consistent effect. It is sold by Mr. King, silk-mercer, Pall-Mall.

My comments: Oh, this is lovely fabric! Not so much the color—I still haven’t decided if “lilac” was the term used for this dusty shade of pink that we’ve seen in other fabric samples, or if the pigment in the dyes has aged and changed from something more purplish to this. But the silk is exquisite: rich and buttery, heavy enough to drape beautifully but light enough, I would imagine, to float and flutter when made into a pelisse (though a lining would tame that tendency.

What do you think of this month’s fabrics? Fancy a dress in one?