COLLECTION: Textiles

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Swatch Book of Figured Velvets and Brocaded Silks

1785-1790
Origin: France, Lyon (probably)
OH: 8 1/2 in.; OW: 7 in.
Paper and silks
Museum Purchase, The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections Fund
Acc. No. 2017-247
This is a sample book containing over 800 samples of silk. The majority of these (680) are velvets for men's suiting, many incorporating both cut and uncut pile, with small floral or geometric patterns in bright colors. At the back of the book are approximately 20 pages (144 samples) of miscellaneous fancy woven silks, including pattern plushes, droguets, chines and brocades. The average page contains ten individual textiles, but some pages contain up to twenty-two samples.
Label:This swatch book contains over 800 samples of silks woven in France on the eve of the French Revolution. The majority of the samples are velvets in small-scale floral and abstract patterns. Sales agents would have used the book to market the latest textile fashions to merchants and customers.
Mark(s):Watermarks for the Montgolfier family of paper makers on Annonay: "F M M / ANNONAY" and a coat of arms incorporating the fleur de lis contained within what may be a Montgolfier balloon topped with a crown