This large fragment of silk damask likely dates to the 1740s to 1750s but has no evidence of ever being used in a garment. The fragment stretches from selvedge to selvedge and contains a strip of two-color damask along the bottom edge (7/8 inches wide). The ribbon like red strip is likely where the weaver either begun or ended the fabric, as the main design does not continue past the strip. (Inserting weft yarns of a different color than the main fabric is a common practice to even out the warps before beginning the full weaving process.)

The main design is a lace pattern, which is simply a floral pattern with the negative space filled with diaper patterning or other geometric patterning in imitation of lace. The main motif consists of meandering, semi-naturalistic flowers, including roses, berries, tulips, and daisies.

The structure of the fabric is a 4/1 satin damask. The damask effect is created by switching the face of the satin, with the floats visible in the main ground and the tie-downs (which appear similar to a balanced plain weave) visible in the motifs. Since the weave technique is dependent on the luster of the silk fibers, both the warps and wefts are the same color. The selvedges (which remain on both sides of the fabric) consist of 3 green stripes surrounding 2 white stripes. Both the warp and weft yarns are S spun.

Date

1730-1755


Material/Technique

Silk


Dimensions

Overall (H x W): 30 in. x 21 3/4 in. (76.2 cm x 55.25 cm)
Other (Design Repeat): 23 1/2 in. (59.69 cm)


Credit

Purchased with funds donated by Mrs. Everette Sherrill, Vice Regent for North Carolina, 2008


Object Number

W-4822


Colors


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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