Please don't steal our images, yeah?

What is this?

Length of printed cotton with a large scale design of curving bamboo-like stems with pineapples and feathers as foliage, in blue on a white ground.

Why is this in our collection?

Unlike most other dyes, indigo does not dissolve in water, so it must be chemically reduced to properly saturate fibers. When reduced, the dye becomes colorless and water soluble, penetrating the fabric when it is submerged. Only when the fabric is lifted out of the dye and exposed to air does the indigo return to its original deep blue color. The use of indigo dye is easy enough when the dyer wishes to dye a whole, or even a section, of yarn or fabric. It becomes problematic, however, when the dyer wishes to use the dyestuff to print.
In the 1740s, a top-secret English invention called ‘China Blue’ solved this problem. In this process, the dyestuff was finely ground into a printable paste that could be applied to fabric. The printed fabric was then alternately submerged in baths of reducing agents and exposed to air to bring out the blue color. This development, combined with the invention of the copper plate printing process in the 1740s, enabled the production of indigo-dyed cooper plate-printed fabrics such as this.

This is a textile from United Kingdom. It is dated 1760–80 and we acquired it in 1960. Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ This object is currently resting in our storage facility.

Its medium is

medium: cotton technique: printed by engraved copper plate on plain weave foundation label: cotton, printed by engraved copper plate

Its dimensions are

H x W: 200 x 70.2 cm (78 3/4 x 27 5/8 in.) Repeat H: 87.9 cm (34 5/8 in.)

This object was manufactured by Ollive and Talwin and Bromley Hall

This object was purchased from Gotham & MacLaughlin and catalogued by Gillian Moss

A timeline of event horizons

See more stuff from the Textiles department.

Do you have your own photos of this object? Are they online somewhere, like Flickr or Instagram? Or have you created a 3D model of one of our objects in SketchUp or Thingiverse? If so then then tag them with ch:object=18434237 and we will connect ours to yours!

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile (England), 1760–80 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=2 August 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

If you would like to tell us more about an object or have found an error in an object record, please fill out this form. Objects that are slated to be on display when the museum re-opens in 2014 are being given priority but all corrections are welcomed!