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Sample Book, Fabbriche Italiane di Seterie, Como, Serie C Vol. 1 DAL 1322 AL Couleur, 1870–79

This is a sample book. It is dated 1870–79 and we acquired it in 2011. Its medium is silk, paper, leather and its technique is jacquard woven samples, bound. 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 colorful examples of silks used in women's fashion and opens a window on the fashionable colors of the period, which included vibrant blues and purples made possible by the invention of synthetic dyestuffs. It also reveals design trends, such as japonisme.
The samples contained within these books are in excellent condition and maintain a vivid brightness and intensity because they have been protected by the leather binding. The large size of the samples (10 by 12 inches) is advantageous for displaying the large scale of the designs. These would be the first woven silk sample books from this important Italian silk-producing center to enter the collection. At the time of proposed acquisition, the museum’s textile sample book collection has strong representation from England, France, and the United States, primarily for printed textiles.

This object was purchased from Clare Jameson and agent: Potterton Books. It is credited Museum purchase from Friends of Textiles Fund.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 33.7 x 28.6 x 2.5 cm (13 1/4 x 11 1/4 x 1 in.)

Cite this object as

Sample Book, Fabbriche Italiane di Seterie, Como, Serie C Vol. 1 DAL 1322 AL Couleur, 1870–79; Italy; silk, paper, leather; H x W x D: 33.7 x 28.6 x 2.5 cm (13 1/4 x 11 1/4 x 1 in.); Museum purchase from Friends of Textiles Fund; 2011-32-2

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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/18766647/ |title=Sample Book, Fabbriche Italiane di Seterie, Como, Serie C Vol. 1 DAL 1322 AL Couleur, 1870–79 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=17 October 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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