This fabric is consistent in style with those produced in England in the 1740s and 1750s. The fawn ground was a popular color, as was the naturalistic style of the flowers. The stepped outline of the motif is consistent with the technological restraints of drawlooms, placing the fabric before the invention of the jacquard loom.
The main ground structure of the fabric is held in a 4/1 satin weave. Light, floral patterning interrupts the ground by way of complementary weft floats. The ground patterning shows a highly stylized flower, and contrast is created by filling the float outlines with a balanced plain weave. This achieves a sort of damask effect, but the satin floats are not present on the reverse of the plain woven section, which indicates that the weave simply changes to a plain weave in those sections.
While the design repeat seems fairly small for the period, this can be deceiving as it is not a true repeat. The form shows a straight repeat, but the colors are not consistent, indicating that what appears to be two repeats are in fact all part of a single repeat. This color change is evident in the blue bell flowers of the main motif (which change to yellow in the subsequent form), and the blue roses in the semicircular motif (which change to pink in the subsequent form.
The main design motif consists of pink carnations (showing pink, white, and brown yarns), blue or yellow daisies and bellflowers (showing light and dark blue, brown, and white, or light and dark gold/yellow, brown, and white), stems, and flowers (showing dark and light green, brown, and white. It is completed using discontinuous weft brocade.
A stitch line runs diagonally across the bottom left corner, with holes on either side of a crease. Purple and pink stains are present throughout, perhaps from the brocade dyes not being completely colorfast. The fabric is double-sided taped onto the back board of the frame, but the tape only fastens the edges of the fabric. The fabric could be removed without extensive damage, which would allow the reverse to be seen to allow for further scholarship.
Though the overall width of the fabric is unusually wide for textiles produced in 18th-century Europe, China was producing Western-style fabrics (meant for export) that were significantly wider than their European counterparts. Production in China for a Western audience could also explain the slightly unusual color palette and the non-use of techniques such a point rentre.
Overall (frame): 35 1/2 in. x 14 1/2 in. (90.17 cm x 36.83 cm)
Gift of Michael Magruder, Calvert Magruder, and Robert Stuart Magruder, 2009
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