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Sample Book, Fabbriche Italiane di Seterie, Como, Serie D Vol. III DAL 1854 AL 2 Lats Noir

This is a Sample book. We acquired it in 2011. Its medium is label: leather binding, paper pages, jacquard woven silk samples. It is a part of the Textiles department.

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 Seterie. The company underwent many changes between the late 19th and early 20th century. By the early 20th century, the company was operating under the name Fabbriche Italiane di Seterie Clerici Braghenti & Company. In 1932, the company’s headquarters relocated to Milan and they conducted business under the acronym FISAC. FISAC diversified their operations by purchasing silk and velvet mills as well as print and dye works. In the 1990s, FISAC was absorbed by a large conglomerate.
This volume features black silks woven in elaborate patterns that are enhanced by vivid shades of red, blue, turquoise, and purple. These samples may have been used for men's waistcoats, smoking jackets, and as linings for coats; black was the mainstay of men’s fashion in the 19th century. These fabrics would have offered a touch of luxury and color in otherwise somber attire.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled A sample book for somber attire.

Cite this object as

Sample Book, Fabbriche Italiane di Seterie, Como, Serie D Vol. III DAL 1854 AL 2 Lats Noir; Italy; label: leather binding, paper pages, jacquard woven silk samples; 2011-32-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18766645/ |title=Sample Book, Fabbriche Italiane di Seterie, Como, Serie D Vol. III DAL 1854 AL 2 Lats Noir |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=28 October 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>