This morning when I got to work, there was a box from Bath waiting for me. A box from Bath means a collection of scraps from Elizabeth Baer! The box was filled with a collection of over 150 scraps of 19th century ticking - just a tiny cutting of each, enough for me to see the pattern.This probably wouldn't suffice for most people, but what's fascinating to me is the quantity of different stripes that were woven during the 19th century. The shading, color and pattern are all still vibrant and clear. Elizabeth wrote in her enclosed letter..."These tickings come from a very large feather and down reclamation factory in Tours, France (since closed after the death of the proprietor) and they were largely imported from outside of France for the feathers the beds contained and the covers were sold in bulk, by weight, to rag merchants for cleaning machinery."
Elizabeth also sent me a bundle of early indigo remnants. Hand-blocked in France during the 18th century, these fabrics are hanging on by a thread - but you can still see the beauty of the pattern in each one. Most of these tiny pieces are from an old bouti quilt.My favorite scraps were hidden at the very bottom of the box....an old piece of a madder blocked print. In 1854 a French textile historian wrote, "One of the most beautiful results obtained from madder was the red ground merino on which botch were printed in black. It was marketed in 1810 by Nicolas Koechlin et Freeres." (Merino refers to a type of cotton fabric often used for Turkey red printing. Botch=hodgepodge?)
Did you say you wanted to learn about textiles?