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19th C. French Pictorial Paisley Shawl








































19th Century French Pictorial Paisley Shawl
This shawl, although not the classic complex swirling intertwined 'boteh' or paisley design typical of this mid-19th C. (1850-1880) period, being a pictorial makes it a bit more rare. The Chinoiserie theme of the stylized foliage, the pagoda, the elegant lady and exotic birds in a garden setting, the classical swags along the ends, the woven-ribbon look of the borders, all point to a French origin. The overall color palette is very soft and subdued. The otherwise vibrant colors of the yarn—blue, red, yellow with brown, black and white—are mixed into the pattern in such fine detail that they optically mix into a more subdued palette. The bright blue thread on the back is rather surprising because one hardly sees this color in the design on the front, as it is used in small areas as outlines and appears almost grey. This is an excellent example of the masterful use of color—the designer knowing that using grey would have created a dull overall look. Instead, using a vibrant blue in small areas gives the design a more vibrant quality. These shawls were worn folded in half and often had different colorways at each end for wearing versatility. In this shawl, one half has a predominantly red tone with the design mixed mainly with blue and red whereas the other end has an overall bluegreen cast being mainly mixed from the blue and yellow yarns. The design consists of repeated vignettes of the birds and lady. The white ribbon-like borders are mixed here and there with patches of yellow yarn to soften the linear quality of the high contrasting white, and are not stains as it may appear to be in the picture. The condition is excellent, with some loose edges and a few small holes in the center and one along each edge where the warp yarns are worn through, but the weft yarns are in tact, making the holes nearly invisible unless held up to the light. Size: 61" by 120"

Item#: text023
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