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What is this?

Bound manufacturer's sample book with eighteen swatches of dyed red cotton. Each swatch shows a progressive increase in density and weight of the twill woven cloth. Bound in blue leather with two brass rivets and a paper label reading Genuine Turkey Red with the logo of Sun and Lion Brand.

This object is full of stories

The term Turkey red refers not to a dye, but to a technique for dyeing cotton a brilliant, wash-fast scarlet red, practiced throughout the Ottoman Empire but unknown in Europe. In order to discover the secret process for themselves, textile firms in England and France sent industrial spies to Turkey and Greece, or imported master dyers and established them at their workshops.
The process was labor-intensive and difficult, requiring 15 to 20 steps, including multiple baths in lye, potash, sheep dung, ox blood, and rancid olive oil. The technique was not adaptable to calico printing, and could only be used for dyeing yarns, or, with some difficulty, whole cloth. This sample book contains twenty-eight solid red samples of varying weights of cotton cloth, from batiste to canvas.

This is a sample book from United Kingdom. It is dated late 19th–early 20th century and we acquired it in 1967. Gift of Harvey Smith.

Its medium is

label: woven cotton samples, leather binding, paper label, brass rivets

Its dimensions are

H x W x D (closed): 14 x 19.7 x 1.9 cm (5 1/2 x 7 3/4 x 3/4 in.) H x W (open): 14 x 32.1 cm (5 1/2 x 12 5/8 in.)

It is inscribed

Genuine Turkey Red. Sun and Lion Brand.
We have 1 video that features Sample Book, "Genuine Turkey Red", late 19th–early 20th century.

Collections in Motion: Turkey Red Sample Book

Demonstration of the Turkey Red Sample Book being opened, closed, and pages turned.

This object was made for Sun and Lion Brand

This object was donated by Harvey Smith

See more stuff from the Textiles department.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=http://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18455159/ |title=Sample Book, "Genuine Turkey Red", late 19th–early 20th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 December 2014 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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