I’ve realized that something I never do around here is book reviews, which is weird because I’m a total costume book collector. My costumer’s bookshelf page is waaay out of date and needs total revamping. But in the meantime, I’m going to try to start posting book reviews here.
Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West by Rosemary Crill is based on the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I admit that I usually find textiles-specific research boring, as I’m more interested in textiles being applied into clothing. But the one main exception to this is chintz (also called toile/indienne). This is one of the best books I’ve read, with a succinct explanation of the chintz making process and how that changed over time, as well as a history of the production and introduction of chintz fabrics in Europe. The only limitations I found was that it didn’t get into the production of toile and the differences between fabrics for clothing versus furniture, and it cuts off at the end of the 18th century (simply saying that chintz fabrics went out of style, which is an oversimplification — it’s just that European made fabrics took off, but they became the hugely popular cotton prints we associate with the 19th century). The bulk of the book are gorgeous, huge, color images of chintz fabrics — most are flat textiles, but there are some garments included. All in all, a definite must-buy for anyone interested in 18th century printed cottons, and also recommended for 18th century costumers in general.