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Not currently on display at the V&A

Hollyhock

Furnishing Fabric
1850 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This printed cotton fabric has a naturalistic floral design and was made in the mid-19th century. It was exhibited in 1852 in an exhibition called 'False Principles in Design' at the Museum of Ornamental Art in Marlborough House, curated by Henry Cole. Cole had been a member of the 1851 Exhibition committee which aimed to promote excellence in industrial design. This chintz, which retains traces of its original label (No.10), was condemned for 'Direct Imitation of Nature'.

Another of the exhibition organisers, Richard Redgrave, declared that 'the decoration of chintzes in particular seems at present to be of the most extravagant kind. Overlooking the fact that the lightness and thinness of the material will not carry a heavy treatment, and that...the use of imitative floral ornament is particularly unsuitable on account of the folds, the taste is to cover the surface almost entirely with large and coarse flowers...which are magnified by the designer much beyond the scale of nature'.

Despite the attempts of Cole and his successors to improve public taste, consumers continued to favour floral chintzes, which remain popular for draperies and upholstery to this day.


Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleHollyhock (manufacturer's title)
Materials and techniques
Printed cotton
Brief description
Roller printed and glazed cotton furnishing fabric, England, mid-19th century
Physical description
A naturalistic design with flowers, vines and conifer-like plants.
Dimensions
  • Width: 33in
  • Length: 46.5in
Taken from measurements in registered description
Marks and inscriptions
Production
Produced by Arthur H Lee of Birkenhead
Subject depicted
Summary
This printed cotton fabric has a naturalistic floral design and was made in the mid-19th century. It was exhibited in 1852 in an exhibition called 'False Principles in Design' at the Museum of Ornamental Art in Marlborough House, curated by Henry Cole. Cole had been a member of the 1851 Exhibition committee which aimed to promote excellence in industrial design. This chintz, which retains traces of its original label (No.10), was condemned for 'Direct Imitation of Nature'.

Another of the exhibition organisers, Richard Redgrave, declared that 'the decoration of chintzes in particular seems at present to be of the most extravagant kind. Overlooking the fact that the lightness and thinness of the material will not carry a heavy treatment, and that...the use of imitative floral ornament is particularly unsuitable on account of the folds, the taste is to cover the surface almost entirely with large and coarse flowers...which are magnified by the designer much beyond the scale of nature'.

Despite the attempts of Cole and his successors to improve public taste, consumers continued to favour floral chintzes, which remain popular for draperies and upholstery to this day.
Bibliographic reference
Parry, Linda. British Textiles from 1850 to 1900 London : Victoria and Albert Museum 1993. Plate 19.
Collection
Accession number
T.8-1933

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Record createdDecember 15, 1999
Record URL
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