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ALUM AND TEXTILE DYEING

Alum was of universal importance for textile dyeing before the introduction of chemical dyes in the 1850s. Thanks to my two textile history projects which are currently in progress, I have had the possibility to study the significance of the alum quarrying and trade...

September 12, 2013
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FORGOTTEN VICTORIAN TEXTILE OBSERVATIONS

Follow the young Swedish traveller, J P Bager, as he walks through the streets of København and Hamburg en route for London. He also visited Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Hull during his journey in the late summer of 1840...

November 7, 2013
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NATURAL DYEING – JOHN GERARD’S HERBAL of 1597 (1633)

During my research of textile dyeing for the ongoing project “TEXTILIA LINNAEANA”, I came across a most interesting volume. It was a rare Herbal including numerous plants possible to use for natural dyeing and on a few occasions the accompaning texts...

January 3, 2014
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A SELECTION OF EARLY FASHION & CLOTH TRADE-CARDS

The British Museum Collection online includes a unique selection of trade-cards donated 1818 by Dorothea Banks, dating back to the early 18th century. Parts of this material is of key interest from a textile history point ...

May 29, 2014
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THE HISTORY OF A LINEN TABLECLOTH – DATED 1789

To own a substantial number of unbleached or white linen tablecloths in a Swedish nobility home, was a tradition with its roots in Medieval times. This group of interior textiles also represented an important part of the family linen storage and as a valuable heirloom – a practice continuing for several hundreds of years...

June 11, 2015
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HABERDASHERS – 18th & 19th CENTURY TRADE-CARDS

One of my earlier posts includes some brief research of fashion and cloth trade-cards from The British Museum Collection online, dating back to the early 18th century. Once again the aim will be to study historical events from this fascinating and very extensive collection, now based on a search for “haberdashers trade cards”...

November 18, 2015
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SHOP WINDOWS – THE DRAPERY TRADE IN THE LONG 19TH CENTURY

Display windows became popular in the last decades of 18th century in London giving rise to clear improvements for showing off such goods such as drapery in the most desirable way – a novelty which was also introduced in many other English cities and towns around the year 1800. This innovation was primarily due to the technical advancement of producing larger glass windows, but secondarily this also had an important role in the growth of a consumer society...

January 3, 2016
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PARCELS & BOXES – “TEXTILE SHOPPING” IN THE LONG 19TH CENTURY

To find evidence for how shoppers of delicate fabrics and other textile wares carried their purchased goods home or had it delivered to their door can be established and partly speculated from various sources. A few examples will be taken from my research of advertising in the weekly Whitby Gazette from 1855 to 1914, a reconstructed draper’s shop and census returns listing errand boys and others within the textile trade...

February 4, 2016
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A STUDY OF UPHOLSTERY IN 18TH & 19TH CENTURY LONDON

The rich information on trade cards and bill-heads in the form of illustrations, printed texts as well as hand-written notes may be compared with observations by the social reformer Charles Booth for historical studies of London. Together these sources give a multitude of facts linked to upholstering as an occupation...

April 17, 2016
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FASHION & REMODELLING OF CLOTHING – A REVERSE CHRONOLOGY FROM 1914 TO 1810

The aim of this post is to give a brief text summary and a few images of female fashions, together with some thoughts about women’s possibilities or wishes to stay fashionable and to keep/alter or remodel clothing through their lives. Fashion in chronological order is seen as the most natural way to study fashion history...

June 5, 2016
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18TH CENTURY SILK DYERS IN LONDON

A selection of 68 trade cards and bill-heads from 1703 to 1818 demonstrate some fascinating facts of the dyers and cleaners of London. To regard oneself as silk dyer dominated, whilst secondary titles were scarlet dyer, scourer or cleaner of various garments, dyer of cotton/calico or woollen fabrics. These randomly preserved trade cards and receipts also give some idea of preferred colours by the customers...

July 11, 2016
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TRANSFERRING EMBROIDERY DESIGNS IN THE 18TH CENTURY

The tradition of transferring designs for free embroideries was well known in the 18th century. Professional workshops as well as domestic embroiderers had the possibility to draw the pattern freehand with chalk, charcoal or ink on the fabric, but more commonly designs were transferred onto linens, fine muslins, woollens etc with various methods from printed or hand drawn paper patterns. Inspirations for such motifs...

August 18, 2016
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A STUDY OF TWO HAND-COLOURED FASHION DRAWINGS FROM 1792

The repeated regulations in 18th century Sweden to do with “sumptuousness and excess” were deciding factors in how people of different social strata were able to dress, making the choice of textile material not only dependent on each individual’s financial status. A complex set of rules were dictated, when it concerned textiles it first and foremost included various restrictions on silks, laces, voluminous types of clothes, trains on dresses etc luxury items...

November 2, 2016
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A STUDY OF TEXTILE TRADE – 1650s TO 1690s

The East India Company (EIC) was founded already in year 1600 and the Dutch East India Company (VOC) two years later, so long distance trade – together with national and local commerce – of desired printed cottons and silks etc was well established in western Europe in the mid-17th century. This study will give a glimpse of these cloth merchants, drapers, mercers, tailors, sellers of secondhand clothes...

January 1, 2017
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KAITAG – TEXTILE ART FROM DAGHESTAN

During April 1994, I had the pleasure to work as curator for this unique collection of embroidery from the Kaitag people in Daghestan exhibited at Christinehof in Skåne, Sweden. The unusual patterns embossed with beautiful colour combinations fascinated more than 5,000 textile interested...

May 26, 2013
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IKAT – EXHIBITION DISPLAYING TEXTILES FROM UZBEKISTAN

Ikat dyeing and weaving with the finest of silk thread have traditions continuing far back in time in Uzbekistan, among other places from the regions of Bukhara and Samarkand. From the exhibition at the David Collection...

March 13, 2014
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THE DAILY LIFE AT A MANOR HOUSE IN 1758 – AN INTRODUCTION

In one of my earlier projects – published in 2004 – a document originating from 1758 at Christinehof manor house in southernmost Sweden provided the basis for my research. This 18th century inventory list will be presented in a total of twelve studies giving numerous examples of material culture, domestic economies, standard of living and everyday life from a perspective of a wealthy noble family...

June 25, 2017
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LIONS, STARS AND POMEGRANATES FROM SOUTHERN SWEDEN

Southernmost Sweden had an unusually rich textile tradition which within the farmers’ households reached its peak between 1750 to 1850. My first research project on a larger scale was based on these historically...

June 13, 2013
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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DETAILS – MATERIALS

The double interlocked tapestries or “rölakan” – together with many other textiles – only begins to reach its beauty, strength and usability, when the details of preparation, weaving and post production all come together...

August 13, 2013
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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DETAILS – COLOURS

During the period 1700-1850 all colours of the spectrum were produced from natural dyes. Primarily from plants but also in some aspects from various lice...

August 24, 2013
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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DETAILS – OWNERSHIP

To place one’s mark or initials on possessions or produced goods, is a tradition which stretches back through Nordic heritage. Noticed as early as Viking Age, from which artifacts can be seen to house such markings...

September 28, 2013
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THE WEAVERS AND THEIR FAMILIES

A complex interaction of longlived traditions in combination with economical, social and geographical circumstances gave rise to the rich variety of woven and embroidered textiles from farmer’s homes in the southernmost Sweden (Skåne) during the period 1700...

November 22, 2013
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THE FEMALE WEAVERS

Female weavers who produced double interlocked tapestries or “rölakan” as a professional occupation were extremely rare during the 18th and 19th centuries, which also was confirmed during my documentation between 1984-91 including more than 1.600 examples of these tapestries...

December 19, 2013
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DOUBLE INTERLOCKED TAPESTRIES IN WORKS OF ART

Long-lasting traditions, the usefulness of the textiles and creations of large dowries were the three most important factors in the increasing production of “rölakan” or double interlocked tapestries – as with many other woven techniques and embroideries...

February 14, 2014
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UNIQUE 19TH CENTURY OBSERVATIONS OF TEXTILES AND CLOTHING

The life and manners of the Swedish people – including clothing and decorative textiles – were two of many areas interesting the artist and folklore researcher Nils Månsson Mandelgren (1813-1899)...

April 22, 2014
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TEXTILES IN 18TH- & 19TH CENTURY ESTATE INVENTORIES

Textiles woven in double interlocked tapestry are some of the many household items mentioned in southern Swedish estate inventories during the period from 1700 to 1850. These records are important complementary sources ...

May 14, 2014
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HISTORICAL REPRODUCTIONS OF EMBROIDERY – BLACKWORK OR “SVARTSTICK”

This first observation is looking closer into the very fine embroidery of the old technique blackwork – called “svartstick” in the province of Dalarna. One of many fascinating styles of embroideries...

August 3, 2014
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HISTORICAL REPRODUCTIONS – WOOLLEN EMBROIDERY

Early 19th century woollen embroidery from southernmost Sweden was my second attempt in reproducing historical stitching. These well-crafted embroideries with their rich...

September 25, 2014
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HISTORICAL REPRODUCTIONS – “TVISTSÖM” EMBROIDERY

To decorate domestic as well as ecclesiastical textiles with tvistsöm or the quite similar cross stitch technique, have at least traditions back to the 13th century in Europe. In southernmost Sweden this way of embroidering became ...

November 28, 2014
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HISTORICAL REPRODUCTIONS – LOCAL SWEDISH EMBROIDERIES

Many areas in Sweden developed their own specialised embroidery designs in various combinations depending on material, stitching, colours and practical uses in the 18th- and 19th centuries. Three of these local county embroidery...

January 6, 2015
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HISTORICAL REPRODUCTIONS – A SWEDISH WEAVING TRADITION

Brocaded tabby type “krabbasnår” was just one of several decorative weaving techniques made by the farmer’s wives in southernmost Sweden during the 18th and 19th centuries. The technique in itself is fairly uncomplicated, but the brocading weft pattern picked by hand alternating with the shuttled ...

May 1, 2015
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HISTORICAL REPRODUCTIONS – 18TH & 19TH CENTURY DOVE-TAIL TAPESTRY

The dove-tail tapestry technique is known in Swedish as flamskväv or ‘Flemish weave’. Similar tapestry weaving can be seen on textiles that are thousands of years old, from many different parts of the world: for instance, as decorations on clothing and later as wall decorations...

May 22, 2015
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HISTORICAL REPRODUCTIONS – 19TH CENTURY WHITEWORK EMBROIDERY

The long history of whitework embroidery has always fascinated me – how by using the same white linen or cotton sewing-thread in a natural way it developed from the actual sewing of garments and household linen to additionally adorn collars, linings, pillow-cases and all sorts of edgings on fabric...

July 14, 2015
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NORDIC BRONZE AGE TRADITIONS – A TEXTILE STUDY

...This first part introducing the Stone Age period and continuing into the Nordic Bronze Age (1800 to 500BC) – a time when skin garments went through refinement simultaneously with the early development of woven woollen fabrics and plaiting techniques...

August 7, 2015
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THE NORDIC IRON AGE – CLOTHING AND DYES

The approximate first thousand years of the Nordic Iron Age (500BC-600AD) was a period when textile related finds first decreased then increased in the Malmö area... introduction of dyeing from the knowledge learned via local excavations and comparisons with some extremely well-preserved Danish bog finds.

August 27, 2015
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THE LATER NORDIC IRON & VIKING AGE – TEXTILE TRADITIONS

This third article of textile trade and material culture of the Malmö area, will discuss the development through the later part of the Iron Age and the more complex novelties in luxury materials added to accessories and garments during the Viking Age...

September 17, 2015
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A MEDIEVAL TOWN – DOMESTIC & IMPORTED WOOLLEN CLOTH

This fourth article of the Malmö area’s textile trades and material culture is the first of several posts which will describe the new circumstances for the coastal Medieval town. Various trades had by now been of importance for a long time, but the growing population gave it new dimensions. For textiles and clothing...

October 4, 2015
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FRAGMENTS OF LINEN AND SILK – A MEDIEVAL TOWN

In the previous post the rich selection of finds related to wool and woollen cloth were analysed, linen and silk are not as frequent, but even so fascinating evidence of the inhabitants’ daily lives are presented. In this context I will discuss the trade with linen, the town’s linen weavers, imported silks, an unearthed cod piece and a ribbon of silk...

October 18, 2015
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THE TEXTILE PRODUCTION – A MEDIEVAL TOWN

A rich selection of excavated textile tools from Malmö gives a good comprehension of textile production in the Medieval period. This in the context of local spinning, weaving or plaiting studied from spindle whorls of various materials, loom-weights and more implements...

November 3, 2015
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MEDIEVAL TEXTILES IN ST PETRI CHURCH – AN INTRODUCTION

This seventh article of the Malmö area’s textile history will be the first – of several studies – describing the unique collection of vestments preserved and once used in the St Petri church. The collection includes 24 items; fragments of chasubles, copes, linen shirts, an altar piece, one dalmatic, fringes...

December 2, 2015
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VESTMENTS & EMBROIDERIES – MEDIEVAL TEXTILES

In this second post of the Medieval textiles in St Petri, once part of the church’s liturgical traditions, I will discuss some comparisons with other contemporary collections and give a brief introduction to the practice and the use of the silk, velvet and linen vestments. A selection of images depicting the preserved fragments with intricate silk and gold embroideries...

January 17, 2016
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APPLIQUÉ & SILK BROCADES – MEDIEVAL TEXTILES

The complex appliqué technique was a usual addition for the professional embroiderers in European workshops, when decorating/illustrating the silk vestments with biblical motifs etc. This third post about the Medieval textile collection in St Petri church – aims to present a few very detailed images of these exquisite fabrics together with a brief discussion on silk brocades and how these qualities could be added with fringes, ribbons and other attributes...

March 16, 2016
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ITALIAN SILKS & VELVETS – MEDIEVAL TEXTILES

Lucca, Genova, Firenze, Venezia and Milano – cities where silk weaving developed to a work of art during the Medieval period and Renaissance. These desirable textiles were sold via a myriad of trading routes through Europe and beyond. St Petri church in Malmö was one such customer, who aspired to extend its storage of vestments especially during the 15th century and up to the Reformation...

May 1, 2016
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MEDIEVAL TEXTILES – BIBLICAL MOTIFS & SYMBOLISM

Expensive silks and velvets used in ecclesiastical textiles were primarily valued for their embellishing qualities, whilst the role of the embroideries had double meanings. The decorative function was of great significance with the finest of stitching in silk and metallic threads, but the symbolism of the patterns is believed to have been just as important. These figure embroideries...

June 20, 2016
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THE EMBROIDERERS – MEDIEVAL TEXTILES

A final post of the late Medieval textiles in St Petri church will give a brief history of the professional embroiderers’ skills, used designs and how this trade in some areas developed into surprisingly large scale production centres on the Continent, England and in the Nordic area. These complex and artistic embroideries...

September 6, 2016
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EMBROIDERIES, SILKS & VELVETS – AFTER THE REFORMATION

The Catholicism formally ended 1536 in Denmark, but St Petri church in Malmö already in the previous decade entered a period of uncertainties and financial difficulties, as a consequence the church had to sell off gold and silver included in the Medieval embroidered vestments etc. Furthermore, new acquisitions of ecclesiastical textiles...

November 23, 2016
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TEXTILE PRODUCTION & TRADITIONS IN A COASTAL TOWN – 1525-1650

Quite a large number of textiles from the period 1525-1650 are kept in the Malmö Museum collection – mostly purchased from Italy, Spain and other countries in the 20th century – but it is only a limited number that with certainty can be traced to local citizens and their everyday life from this part of the early modern period...

March 3, 2017
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TEXTILE FURNISHING & EMBROIDERIES – A STUDY FROM 1650 TO 1700

For several centuries Malmö and its nearby districts had benefited from a prosperous and long-lasting trade – including imports and exports of various textile goods. Circumstances that changed rapidly at the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, when this wealthy Danish town and other closely situated areas became part of Sweden. The main trade routes were now altered, new taxes were introduced...

March 23, 2017
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PROFESSIONAL WEAVERS AND CHILD LABOUR IN MALMÖ – 1650 TO 1700

Linen weavers, stripy woollen fabrics, eiderdown filled bolsters, silver accessories for clothing, weaving of broadcloth and child labour within textile manufacturing. These are the main subjects that will be observed via historical documents and preserved items from the Malmö area in southernmost Sweden...

July 11, 2017