Dress Fabric thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Fashion, Room 40

Dress Fabric

ca. 1790 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

By the mid-eighteenth century, wood-block printing on cotton and linen textiles had developed to a high standard, even though the home market was affected by legislation protecting the silk and wool industries. The dyeing techniques used to produce the strong fast colours on imported Indian chintzes which had dazzled European customers in the seventeenth century had been mastered, and colour ranges were developed further with the introduction of 'pencilling' of indigo in the 1730s, and 'china blue' by the early 1740s. A commentator on the state of British textile arts in 1756 wrote : "chintz…can imitate the richest silk brocades, with a great variety of beautiful colours".

This length of block-printed cotton dress fabric is typical in its design and colouring of English production at the end of the 18th century.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Block-printed cotton
Brief Description
Dress fabric of block-printed cotton, English, ca. 1790
Physical Description
Dress fabric of block-printed cotton. With a design of coffee-coloured stripes, bearing a central meander of small bud shapes and two flanking vertical rows of small oval medallions with a flower in each alternate one, and divides wider stripes where opposing meanders of yellow ribbon and of stem bearing four different types of flowers are linked by a ribbon bow at the point where they cross. To either side is a much smaller chain meander of a thin stem bearing leaves and single berries crossed with blue ribbon. The colours are red, pink, lilac, brown, buff, yellow, blue and green made up of yellow and blue.
Dimensions
  • Width: 38.5cm
  • Length: 72.4cm
  • Repeat height: 11in
  • Height: 27in
  • Width: 14in
28.5 cm x 15.5 cm (pattern repeat)
Credit line
Given by Miss M. H. Tattersall
Subject depicted
Summary
By the mid-eighteenth century, wood-block printing on cotton and linen textiles had developed to a high standard, even though the home market was affected by legislation protecting the silk and wool industries. The dyeing techniques used to produce the strong fast colours on imported Indian chintzes which had dazzled European customers in the seventeenth century had been mastered, and colour ranges were developed further with the introduction of 'pencilling' of indigo in the 1730s, and 'china blue' by the early 1740s. A commentator on the state of British textile arts in 1756 wrote : "chintz…can imitate the richest silk brocades, with a great variety of beautiful colours".



This length of block-printed cotton dress fabric is typical in its design and colouring of English production at the end of the 18th century.
Collection
Accession Number
T.37-1965

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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