Rendered by Sylvia De Zon (artist), c. 1939
watercolor and graphite on paper
overall: 41.8 x 50.3 cm (16 7/16 x 19 13/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 14" long; 14" wide
Index of American Design
Not on View
Object 11 of 17
Reflecting the English and European fashions during the eighteenth century, printed cottons of all types were in great demand in America. Most printed textiles of the time were imported from England, since laws prohibited the manufacture and printing of fabrics in the colonies. By the middle of the eighteenth century, however, the colonists were defying the English bans, and cottons and linens were being printed openly by shops in New England and in the mid-Atlantic colonies. Early printed textiles, like this example, received their patterns through a technique of printing with wood blocks. A design was cut in high relief on a block of wood. Colored dyes were applied to the relief design, which was then stamped on the fabric, thus transferring the pattern. Along with historical scenes based upon American figures and events, floral patterns were popular. In this late eighteenth-century American printed cotton, the lavish pattern of brightly colored flowers recalls the elaborate designs of Indian fabrics and of their European counterparts.
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