Paisley-A Brief History

7 Sep

paisley1Paisley just may have been the original print. Way back in time, when someone first got the idea of printing on cloth (or cave wall!), the first “rubber stamp” to come to hand was the hand itself. Curled up in a fist, pressed pinkie side into the dye and applied to a plain ground, a hand leaves the familiar curved teardrop shape we know as Paisley. How many of you have done this on a steamy car window?

Paisley has not lost it’s popularity over time. I’t still as viable a choice in decorating as it was a fashion statement back in the day. Now we see it in wallpapers and fabrics for furniture and accent pillows.

The annals of Paisley history tell that Napoleon Bonaparte introduced this design to the west when he brought a paisley shawl home for his beloved Josephine around 1800. This shawl probably tookpaisley5 an artist in India five years to weave, and cost the equivalent of a middle-class home at the time! Thus, everyone coveted it. Before long, every lady in the French court had to have one, and the British were not to be outdone.

With such a market, more craftsmen entered into the manufacture of paisley shawls. One town in Scotland came to base its livelihood upon the production of these required fashion accessories. With widespread distribution and lower prices, almost every woman in England could own one of paisley3these shawls by 1860. Thus the name and and fame of that once obscure Sottish hamlet was spread-Paisley.

Unfortunately, when bustles hit the fashion scene in 1869, it spelled financial ruin and even famine paisley2among the residents of Paisley and India alike. The bustle disrupted the drape of a shawl, and just like that, the accessory was packed off for cold storage.

Yet the indelible image of Paisley has never quite been put away. It became a household ornament, decorating cotton fabrics manufactured for drapery and upholstery through the turn of the century and on up to the current day. 200 years after the arrival of Paisley in the west, the timing seems right for this versatile and important collection.

 

http://www.deluxdrapery.com

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