Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Imported Prints: Indiennes & Mignonettes

The madder red print is a small, simple figure repeated in a staggered or half-drop repeat. One description for this style is an Indienne. The one above looks like a woodblock with a background of picotage (tiny dots) but it may be a roller print. I am guessing early 19th century.

Another Indienne in blue on white

Western textile manufacturers learned much of their natural dye technology from Indian artisans. They also appropriated design, adapting floral chintzes to large-scale furnishing fabrics and borrowing images for smaller-scale dress prints that also found their ways into quilts. In France exotic designs inspired by Indian textiles were called Perses or Indiennes (French for Persian or Indian.)

The blue and white print from a British quilt about 1800 could be classified as a mignonette or Indienne

An Indian style print in two colorways
 from an 1820s swatchbook
with a scattered floral at the top---
less Indian, more European in design.

One of the most enduring cultural exchanges is what we call Paisley pattern, composed of cone-shaped figures--- an oval shape with a curl on the end. The image is traditionally known as a botha or boteh, from the Hindi word buta for flower. 

A selection of Indiennes or shawl prints
 from about 1800-1840.
Sharp geometric edges in printed figures echo a woven figure.

Other imitations of Indian design were called shawl prints or cashmere designs, cotton prints that imitated more expensive woven figures by adding horizontal or diagonal lines across the figure. Figures in shawl prints often had squared-off edges to give the look of a geometric woven pattern. 

A floral and a boteh---
new blocks for printing---imagery hasn't changed

In France the tiny figures were also known as mignonettes, a French word that can be translated as "little fancies" or "miniatures." Like Indian design, mignonettes were loose abstractions of floral forms.  

A new Indian print. 
India prints remain popular for interior design:
bedding and tableware

This new bedsheet echoes the multicolored prints and diagonal repeat so popular in the 18th century.

Here's a reproduction Indienne from my Lately Arrived from London collection:
The Ship Surprise

The original Indiennes were block printed in India but by 1800 English and French factories were copying them in abundance. Once roller printing became the dominant technique in the teens more complex prints in Indienne style became possible.

Here is a page from the London magazine Ackermann's Repository, the September, 1812 issue. These periodicals had a page each issue with fabric tipped in (glued in to them.) The fabric glued into the spoke at 1:00 above is very similar to my reproduction print, described as "a sea weed ground printed (cotton) cambric so evidently calculated for the humble order of morning and domestic wear."

Turkey red print from about 1840

We see many multicolored calicoes in this style in the 1810s and '20s as printers increased their color skills. Indiennes achieved their greatest popularity with American quilters after 1840 when Turkey red prints in mignonette style became quite popular for applique and friendship quilts.

See more about these later prints at this blogpost

See some early Indiennes from India (printed and embroidered) at the Victoria and Albert Museum website. http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O74009/robe/

Several of these pictures are from the online dealer Morgaine-le-Fay. Click here:

And see Amanda's very useful collection of Ackermann's Allegorical Woodcuts (the page with the swatches) from 1812 here:

Here's a page of fashion from Ackermann's from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

1 comment:

sharong said...

I would like to know where the new bed sheet came from, I really love it.