COLLECTION: Textiles

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Valance, cotton copperplate print, blue

Textile-ca. 1765
Origin: Textile-England; Bedhangings-America
W: 13"; L: 58"; Vertical repeat: 38 1/2"; trim: 1 3/8"
Cotton, copperplate-printed; block-printed cotton trim; linen lining
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1969-40,8
Bed valance for the foot of a tall-post bedstead, constructed from "China blue" copperplate print on natural plain-woven cotton. The bed valance is shaped with ears on both ends and undulating shaping across bottom. It is bound on all four sides with blue-and-white block-printed cotton in an undulating striped design. The main design shows boughs loaded with fruit, tree stumps, cattails, flowering plants, and trees, among which are peacocks, hens, and a great variety of smaller birds. The valance is lined with linen.
Label:Originally part of a complete set of bedhangings, this valance was tacked to the top of the wooden frame of a tall-post bedstead to hide the curtain hardware and add an elegant finish to the ensemble. Two shaped valances remain from the set.

Printed cotton textiles were especially popular for bed hangings in the second half of the eighteenth century. It was fashionable to trim curtains and valances with printed edgings, like this example, that coordinated in color but differed in design scale. This resulted in a pattern-on-pattern effect. The printed textile in this example has a narrow area left unprinted near the left edge, resulting from a fold in the textile during the printing process.