Sample Book, "Fabbriche Italiane di Seterie, Como, Serie D Vol. III DAL 1854 AL 2 Lats Noir", 1870–79 Label: leather binding, paper pages, jacquard woven silk samples. Museum purchase from Friends of Textiles Fund. 2011-32-1.
What is this?
Sample book of jacquard woven silk samples, separated by transparent paper sheets, bound in leather. Samples primarily with black grounds and brilliantly colored designs.
Why is this in our collection?
This is one of two sample books dating from the late 19th century that contain very fine examples of woven silks from Como, Italy. Since the 16th century, Como has been a center for luxurious Italian silks. Lake Como is nearby alpine streams that supply the region with water to support sericulture (silk farming), and is also close to the Po Valley, where mulberry bushes, the staple of the silkworms’ diet, were widely cultivated. Both sample books were produced by Fabbriche Italiane di Seterie, a silk manufacturer from Como. A 1905 annual report published by the Silk Association of America notes that the St. Louis Exposition of 1904 had 12 exhibitors of Italian silks, including Fabbriche Italiane di... more