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Part 33. Two Exhibition Catalogues wiith a Difference

Two exhibition catalogues with a difference.

Two rather expensive but superb books this time; technically exhibition catalogues but so much more. The first is Chintz Quilts from the Poos Collection by Kay and Lori Lee Triplet and Xenia Cord. This is in two parts: Xenia Cord has written a brilliant introduction of the history of chintz, then follows a catalogue of the chintz quilts shown at the 2013 European Patchwork Meeting.

So, it begins with a one-page Introduction and this, like all the text, is in French and English, sometime the texts share a page, sometimes they are opposite; so it can be slightly disconcerting visually (but it is also an ideal opportunity to brush up on French textile terms.) Another page to introduce The Poos Collection, another for Curatorial Details and then Xenia Cord begins her A Brief History of Chintz; seventy pages divided as The Power of Cotton, Indian Cotton Technology, A New Beginning in Europe, Embargoes and Enterprise, Mastering the Mechanics, Lancashire Growing Pains, English Calico Printing, Chintz Comes to America, Slater's Cotton Contribution, Women's Work, Women's Wear and An Industry Matures. I might quibble that America hogs the limelight but otherwise I have nothing but praise for this essay, it is intelligent and well-written, (and illustrated). With its detailed Endnotes it makes a thorough, up-to-date and comprehensive review of chintz history.

The second half of the book is the Chintz Quilts Catalogue, two hundred pageswith details of thirty-six quilts, categorised as Center Medallion, Diamond in a Square, Album, Star One-Patch or Patchwork Quilts. Each quilt has full-page colour picture with four/six pages with more illustrations and detail, each quilt has its dimensions and country of origin noted but sometimes no more hard data is included. But the illustrations, especially the close-up details, are magnificent.

Eighteen pages for a Famous Fabric List, twenty-eight of the Poos Collection chintz fabrics, each illustrated with a list “of the locations of those fabrics in other collections or publications”, a most interesting idea. Again, both this List and the Catalogue have Endnotes; these plus a two-page Bibliography, a two-page Glossary, afive-page Index and two pages of Credits and Publishing details end a most satisfactory book.

The only bad news is the price, 41 Euros and as it is published in France by Quiltmania, a large p&p charge. But it is well worth it, even if the text of the second half does not match up to Xenia's contribution, the illustrations are outstanding and the coverage unique.

My next book is another hefty tome: Interwoven Globe, the Worldwide Textile Trade 1500-1800, to go with exhibition held in 2013/4 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Again, the catalogue of exhibits follows text, this time essays by different experts. So, after the usual Contents, Director's Forward, Acknowledgements , Lenders and Contributors (all exhibit text is credited) we have: Trade Textiles at the Metropolitan Museum:A History (Amelia Peck), “One Thing Leads to Another”; Indian Textiles and the Early Globalization of Style (John Guy), The Iberian Globe :Textile Traditions and Trade in Latin America (Elena Phipps), Chinese Textiles for Portuguese Tastes (Maria Joao Pachecco Ferreira), Japan and the Textile Trade in Context (Joyce Denney), Silk along the Seas:Ottoman Turkey and Safavid Iran in the Global Textile Trade (Marika Sardar), “Whims and Fancies”:Europeans Respond to Textiles from the East (Melinda Watt), “India Chints” and “China Taffety”: East India Company Textiles for the North American Market (Amelia Peck) and Global Colours;Dyes and the Dye Trade (Elena Phipps).Each essay is ten/twelve pages long, illustrated and with endnotes and I have listed them to give an idea of their wide scope and  unusual depth .It is worth mentioning the Trade Route maps on the end covers which are extremely useful though if I should have liked more detail.

After these essays come the Catalogue:one hundred and seventy pages describing one hundred and twelve wide-ranging and fascinating exhibits; mostly textiles and garments with other relevant objects, e.g. furniture, portraits and pictures. Each is illustrated and has concise but intelligent text with notes.

The book ends with an invaluable two-page Textile Glossary, twenty-four pages of Notes to the Essays, a thirteen-page Bibliography, and finally a seven-page Index; nothing scrimped here. The whole makes for an imposing volume, well worth the money and time spent reading it.

Despite their erudition, both these books are extremely readable and will be returned to as reference and pleasure for many years.


Chintz Quilts from the Poos Cllection by Kay and Lori Lee Triplet and Xenia Cord is published by Quiltmanaia (2013) ISBN 978-2-916182-2-90-2 and costs 41 Euros. Depending on the exchange rate etc, this is under £40.00 but the p&p is a breathtaking 16 Euros. As this seems fixed, try to persuade a friend to buy a copy too or perhaps the Quiltmania stall at Birmingham will have them for sale.


Interwoven Globe, the Worldwide Textile Trade 1500-1800, Edited by Amelia Peck is published by Thames and Hudson (2013), ISBN 978-0-500-51716-1. Its list price is £39.95 but I bought mine from The Book Depository for £34.99 including p&p.

For the next issue, I shall try to find some cheaper books, but quality costs!

© Brigid J.Ockelton. 2014

PLEASE NOTE - An indication is given of the availability and market price of the book at the time of writing and may not reflect today's availability and price.