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Part 35. Three from BQSG

Three Books from the BQSG Seminar

Three books this time that are quite unrelated except they were all mentioned by participants at the BQSG seminar held in Worthing this autumn; so, three recently published and recommended books.

The first is the real gem: Printed Textiles, British and American Cottons and Linens 1700-1850 by Linda Eaton. This is “based on the 1970 classic by Florence M. Montgomery which was described as a “watershed moment in the historiography of textile scholarship and a comprehensive volume that was to become both a guide and a model.” However, research has moved on since 1970: this text offers “extensive additional insights “plus the enormous advantage that the four hundred illustrations of fabrics are now in full colour rather than the original black and white “to give a full appreciation of the beautiful fabrics that are part of the Winterthur Museum Collection.” This makes for a magnificent book, expensive but well worth every penny.

The book is essentially two parts, six chapters of text for one hundred and fifty pages then two hundred of Catalogue i.e.illustrations.

So, we startwith a Foreword, Acknowledgements, a six-page Introduction outlining the origins and impetus for the original book, then the main text. Here Linda Eaton has changed the slant and content of Montgomery's book, for instance this first chapter is The British Calico Printing Industry rather than English Printed Cottons. Then follow British Trade with North America, The Uses of Printed Furnitures in America and Britain, Textile Printing in America, Designers and Design and The Chemistry and Technology of Calico Printing. As the text has been reorganised to present a “thorough and sweeping study enriched by diverse approaches to object analysis today” so the ideas, citations and terms e.g. furnitures, are bang up to date. Each chapter is well set out, a rich text with appropriate illustrations and comprehensive end notes.

All the textiles shown in the Catalogue are from the Winterthur collection and are now in full colour with informative details, such as size and fibre composition, rather than Montgomery's rather chatty captions. The entries are grouped thematically by design, progressing in rough chronological order. So we begin with Madder Style and go through such as Figural Copperplates, Exotic Islands, Fanciful Combinations for two hundred pages of chintzes.

It ends with an excellent twelve page, chronologically subdivided, Selected Bibliography and a ten-page Index

My second review is of Stana Nenadic and Sally Tuckett's Colouring the Nation, their account of The Turkey Red Cotton Industry in Scotland c.1840-1940. This is the book of the research project Colouring the Nation ( put into context with other collections.

It begins with a Contents page, Acknowledgements, About the Authors and Foreword. There are only six chapters, each approximately twenty-five pages long: Turkey Red in Scotland, Dyeing and Printing, Design, Copyright and Exhibition, Styles and Patterns, International Markets, and Home Markets. Each chapter is subdivided, e.g. Chapter Four; Styles and Patterns has Flowers and Leaves, Animals and Birds, Figures and Objects and Abstract  and Geometric. Despite theseheadings, the text flows: it is an eminently readable book, lavishly and sensibly illustrated with informative captions. It ends with a three page Select Bibliography and a Select Index of names and organisations.

This is that rare animal, an accessible but scholarly text, and I highly recommend it to add to the available literature on Turkey Red fabrics/dyes and industry.

The third book I was going to review was Amish Quilts, Crafting an American Icon by Janneken Smucker but Pauline Macaulay has included it in The Quilter, (Winter 2014). So I shall briefly endorse her remarks and recommend it to you as a new look at “the cult” of Amish quilts, an interesting read and an attractively presented hardback.

My thanks go to fellow members of BQSG at the Worthing seminar for bringing these books to our attention, especially Kate Smith and Dorothy Osler.


Printed Textiles, British and American Cottons and Linens 1700-1850 by Linda Eaton is published by the Monacelli Press (New York) in 2014. ISBN 978 1580 933933 It costs £53.80 full price but I bought mine for £37.98 plus £2.80 p&p from Books etc. via Amazon. However, as I check for this article it has gone up so try another supplier for the best price.

Colouring the Nation, The Turkey Red Printed Cotton Industry in Scotland c. 1840-1940 by Stana Nenadic and Sally Tuckett is published by National Museums of Scotland, 2013. ISBN 978-1-905267-80-4 at £17.99. I bought mine via Amazon from The Book Depository for £10.98 plus £2.80 p&p.

Amish Quilt , Creating an American Icon by Janneken Smucker is published byThe Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore in 2013, ISBN 13 978-1-4214-1053-1 at £22.50. but again from The Book Depository, it cost £15.89 plus £2.80 p&p. (For some obscure reason, Amazon gives a lot of different prices but be firm for the lowest one.)

© Brigid J.Ockelton. 2015

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.