Thursday, 17 October 2013



 The different  styles of decoration in the Indian Palampores are one of their main attractions, with precise drawing and outlines for the flowers, leaves, insects and other wild life.  The intricate patterns on the flower petals and leaves were often taken from Persian designs.   These cloths were highly  prized  in Europe and caused much grief to the traders at home and in France, heavy fines had to be paid for their purchase and use by the public.  This only increased their desirability!  Later on, the ban was removed and factories at Mulhouse and elsewhere produced their own copies and adaptations.  I have been interested to see that Sanderson have produced bed-linen based on Palampores and think the sheets would make very attractive curtains! Keep on scrolling down

   The great palampores of the Coromandel Coast in India are some of the greatest treasures in the world of textiles.   They were huge curtains or wall hangings, hand blocked usually with elaborate Tree of Life centres, incorporating leaves, flowers in amazing elaborate designs, birds and animals and insects, to show a gentle passage through a long life in beauty and calm.  The borders were complicated intricate designs and there was room for the rock-work which formed the basis for the growing tree.    Their production  and that of many quite dis-similar designs, was a long and highly skilled job for many workers who first drew the outlines and then filled in the patterns with wood blocks carved with the details of each petal and leaf, changing them to fit precisely on the original drawings.  Some of the colours were applied by hand with fine hollow bamboo sticks which had little reservoirs of colour.   Inbetween each stage there was the art of fixing the colour with mordants, bleaching, etc. etc., and a final polishing with wax and starch with a shell to make the cloth glossy.   The panels were often printed on very fine cotton woven in big sizes 8 or 10 foot wide and high and when finished after these many processes, were exported to France, England and the Netherlands on the great East India trade routes, partly by land or sometimes entirely by ship from Indian ports past the Cape to Europe..  Their history is well documented and examples can be seen at the V.and A. and the curtains I have in my dining room are super repros hand blocked by the famous textile printers, Bracquenie, who also did the same replacement curtains for David Garrick's bed ( V. and A.). There is a lovely book by the curator of the collection, Rosemary Crill, titled Chintz Indian textiles for the West.   N.B.This is really a re-cap of my  previous notes after I saw a stunning collection in the Museum at Port Louis, Lorient, in Brittany and which is for me, the most memorable exploration of textile design I have ever seen.

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