Object Timeline

1980

  • Work on this object began.

1990

  • Work on this object ended.

2016

  • We acquired this object.

2017

2021

  • You found it!

Skirt, ca. 1985

This is a Skirt. It is dated ca. 1985 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is cotton, polyester and its technique is printed. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This skirt, dating from the mid- to late 1980s, is made from a fabric printed in what is commonly called the toile style. The original toiles de Jouy, made at the Oberkampf factory in Jouy-en-Josas, France and elsewhere in the second half of the 18th century, were printed from finely engraved copper plates, and typically featured pastoral or historical scenes printed in a single color on a white ground, as in this piece.
This example features renderings of the New Ayer Mill, Pacific Mill and Printworks, and Upper Pacific Mill, all in Lawrence, Massachusetts. At the time they were built by the American Woolen Company in the early 20th century, they were the largest mill buildings in the world. The Ayer Mill has the world’s largest mill clock tower, its clock faces only six inches smaller than those of Big Ben in London.
The mills closed in the 1950s and fell into disrepair. In the 1980s, efforts began to preserve and restore these architecturally important buildings, and this commemorative fabric may have been created to support the preservation efforts. In 1991, over one million dollars was raised to restore the clock tower: the tower bell chimed again in 2010, its 100th anniversary.

This object was donated by American Textile History Museum. It is credited American Textile History Museum Collection.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 68.6 × 62.2 cm (27 × 24 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Skirt, ca. 1985; cotton, polyester; H x W: 68.6 × 62.2 cm (27 × 24 1/2 in.); American Textile History Museum Collection; 2016-35-86

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108711715/ |title=Skirt, ca. 1985 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=31 July 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>