Sample Book, Genuine Turkey Red
This is a Sample book. We acquired it in 1967. Its medium is label: woven cotton samples, leather binding, paper label, brass rivets. It is a part of the Textiles department.
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 object was donated by Harvey Smith.
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Cite this object as
Sample Book, Genuine Turkey Red; England; label: woven cotton samples, leather binding, paper label, brass rivets; 1967-20-35
Demonstration of the Turkey Red Sample Book being opened, closed, and pages turned.
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Making Design.