Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Regency Fabrics, Part 35

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 four samples are from the November 1809 issue of Ackermann’s Repository—a recent acquisition! The overall condition of my copy is very good: the page has been trimmed a little close on the sides and is rather darkly toned but not otherwise damaged, and all four fabric samples are present and in good condition, if a little creased in places.

Here we go!

No. 1. A fret-work striped muslin, particularly adapted for gowns, robes, and pelisses. This article is confined to no absolute order of costume, but is equally adapted to the morning, or half dress;though perhaps it more immediately belongs to the former; yet we have seen the simple French frock, buttoned or laced up the back with biassed bosom and short sleeve, formed of this material; and with ornaments of variegated gems, it forms, at once, a dress unobtrusively neat and attractive. It is sold by Messrs. Waithman and Everington, No. 104, Fleet-street, at 4s. 3d. per yard.

My comments: Well, this is interesting. Examining the fabric (a very fine, sheer muslin, definitely designed to be made up with a lining) I thought it looked rather odd—the stripes have these little blobs of thread that are rather untidy and not very attractive. Then I carefully looked at the backside of the sample, and it suddenly made more sense: the stripes are much more regular and even (not to mention attractive.) Could it be that whoever glued in the samples put this one in backward?


No. 2. The Arabian Jubilee silk; the most rich and beautiful article which has ever been introduced in the line of full dress. We may fairly commend the taste and invention of the manufacturer of this most splendid article, which is at once both unique and elegant. We need say little to our fair correspondents by way of recommending it to their notice; its attraction is sufficiently striking to the eye of taste, and we venture to predict, that it will be a reigning favourite with the superior order of fashionables during the winter. It is sold by Mr. D. Hodges, No. 12, Henrietta-street, Covent-garden.

My comments: Ah, merchandising; Mr. Hodges was clearly trying to take advantage of George III’s Jubilee celebrations to sell merchandise. It is lovely stuff, though the scan is not doing it full justice—very fluid and shiny (it is silk, after all) in a warm corn-gold, and would make a beautiful evening dress.


No. 3. An imperial green shawl print, of the most novel introduction, and which is expected to rank high on the list of winter fashions, as there are considerable quantities preparing at the different manufactories. The pattern is strikingly delicate, and the colours agreeably contrasted; the warm glow of the bright yellow being a seasonable opposition to the cooler shade of the yet lively green. For the more humble order of home costume, morning wraps, or high gowns, this animated article is particularly adapted; and, we doubt not, will be purchased with avidity by females of taste. This print is also sold by Messrs. Waithman and Everington, No. 104, Fleet-street, at 4s. per yard.

My comments: This is cheerful stuff! I like the print atop the twill-weave stripe, though I’m still trying to figure out if it’s supposed to be a floral or just an insouciant little doodle. There has been fading—the green on the reverse is much brighter and livelier. The body of the fabric is light and drape-y, but perfectly opaque.


No.4 is a chintz kerseymere for gentlemens’ waistcoats, and displays much appropriate taste and liveliness of invention. There is little need of remark on this article, except to point out the agreeable contrast which waistcoats of this kerseymere, will form to the dark shades of winter coats. It is sold by Messrs. Smith and Co. No. 2 Prince’s-street, Leicester-square, price 16s.

My comments: I’m not entirely sure where the “chintz” in the description comes in; this fabric is like a thick twill (hard to see in the image, but it’s definitely a twill) that has been brushed to a felt-like consistency, not polished and glazed like a twill. It is definitely suitable for a toasty-warm winter-season waistcoat, being quite sturdy and impervious to chill winds.

What do you think of this month’s fabrics? I wouldn't mind one in the Jubilee silk, myself...



QNPoohBear said...

I like them all. As always, thank you for sharing! I hosted Flat Jane Austen of JASNA Eastern Washington/Northern Idaho region recently. We went looking for period textiles but didn't find any this time. She did see a real kashmir shawl with the original paisley design though.

Marissa Doyle said...

Flat Jane Austen? I am intrigued, both by her and the shawl you spotted.