There is one other image of this object. This object has no known copyright, and as such we offer a high-resolution image of it. See our image rights statement.

 

See more objects with the color lightgrey darkgrey grey dimgrey or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline

2008

2013

2019

  • You found it!

Handkerchief (England), 1887

This is a Handkerchief. It is dated 1887 and we acquired it in 2008. Its medium is cotton and its technique is printed by engraved roller on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Since the initial development of copperplate printing in the mid-18th century, designs for textiles have included scenes commemorating political, military, or cultural events of the day, all taken from contemporary engravings. In 1783, Thomas Bell patented a roller printing machine, exponentially increasing the speed at which textiles could be printed while decreasing the cost at which they could be produced. Throughout the 19th century, England’s textile printing industry surpassed that of any other nation. The mechanization of textile printing made textile ephemera affordable, and every 19th-century royal event, political campaign, engineering feat, and military success was accompanied by printed souvenir fabrics. While handkerchiefs were the favored format for souvenir fabrics (and remained so until the introduction of silkscreened t-shirts in the 1960s), some designs were printed on yardage goods that were clearly intended to be used for clothing, curtains, bed hangings, and other household purposes.
The Silver Jubilee was not celebrated as it fell within a year of Prince Albert’s death in 1861. Perhaps the Golden Jubilee in 1887 was celebrated all the more enthusiastically because the Queen had been a virtual recluse since that time, in deep mourning, and images of her were widely sought. The Queen herself distributed mugs with her likeness to schoolchildren as part of the celebration.
The 1887 Jubilee handkerchief is a carefully composed and finely printed design that conveys a rich amount of information. It features portraits of the royal family as well as of the prime ministers who had served Queen Victoria, and also shows miniature scenes of the Queen enacting her duties. The quality of the piece is excellent.
This kerchief is proposed for acquisition along with other souvenir fabrics, including a kerchief printed for the Diamond Jubilee in 1887 and a memorial kerchief printed after the Queen’s death. As a group, these provide an excellent demonstration of how costly sets of printing blocks and rollers were repurposed for various designs. These pieces complement each other and expand upon the British souvenir fabrics currently held by the museum, including one dating from 1837 depicting the coronation and another yardage fabric from the 1897 celebrations.

This object was donated by Paul F. Walter. It is credited Gift of Paul F. Walter.

  • Big Road Census (USA), 1881 or 1882
  • colored pencil, graphite, and watercolor on paper.
  • National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution NAA MS 2372 (Inv.....
  • 15.2012.6

Its dimensions are

Frame H x W: 59.1 x 59.1 cm (23 1/4 x 23 1/4 in.) Textile H x W: 50.2 x 50.2 cm (19 3/4 x 19 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Handkerchief (England), 1887; cotton; Frame H x W: 59.1 x 59.1 cm (23 1/4 x 23 1/4 in.) Textile H x W: 50.2 x 50.2 cm (19 3/4 x 19 3/4 in.); Gift of Paul F. Walter; 2008-21-3

This object may be subject to Copyright or other restrictions.

You are welcome to make fair use of this image under U.S. Copyright law and in compliance with our terms of use. Please note that you are responsible for determining whether your use is fair and for responding to any claims that may arise from your use.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

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

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18730005/ |title=Handkerchief (England), 1887 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=21 March 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>