18th century, books

Book Review: Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West

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 My costumer’s bookshelf page is waaay out of date and needs total revamping.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.

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2 Comments

  • Reply brocadegoddess September 27, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Thanks for the book review, I will keep an eye for it – see if my university has it, or if I ought to recommend they get it.

    Are you interested in social history associated with clothing and textiles at all? If not, feel free to disregard the following.

    If this sort of thing does interest you (or anyone else who visits here) My MA supervisor has written a book on early modern cotton in Britain:

    Fashion’s favourite : the cotton trade and the consumer in Britain, 1660-1800; Oxford University Press; 1991

    Her name is Beverly Lemire, and I love her writings!

    More recently she wrote a journal article entitled “Domesticating the Exotic: Floral culture and the east India calico trade with England c. 1600-1800″; Textile, 1(1); 2003

    She also stops at about 1800, so won’t be a good source of 19th century stuff, but I’d be willing to bet she’d have several recommendations, lol.

    As an aside (geez this is getting long, sorry), do you know about “Barbara Johnson’s Album of Fashion and Fabrics”? Just in case you don’t, and you might be interested in contemporary info I wrote a little blurb about it on my own blog. I was really thrilled when I found out about it!

  • Reply brocadegoddess September 28, 2008 at 2:27 am

    Ok, please don’t think I’m spamming you or anything, but I just found out something….significant on Amazon.com the other night:

    A Patterns of Fashion *IV* is coming out in November. It is for “linen shirts, smocks, neckwear, headwear, and accessories for men and women 1540-1660″.

    I thought you might be interested if you haven’t heard about it already.

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