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Tag: Cooper-Hewitt Library

The Textile Thief and the Great British Manufacturers

Written by Jessica Masinter. She is a summer intern in the Cooper Hewitt Library and a literary studies major at Middlebury College.

(L): Textile sample No. 464 from “Textile Fabrics of India, second series, Volume 9, Mushroos and Imroos.” Main sample measures 19x10cm. “For Examination of Texture” sample square measures 4x4cm. (R): Textile sample No. 972 from “Textile Fabrics of India, second series, Volume 17, Cotton.” Main sample measures 19x10cm. “For Examination of Texture” sample square measures 4x4cm.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Indian textiles were the height of quality. Their exotic patterns, brilliant colors and dye fastness drove customer appeal among the English bourgeoisie to the point where India was considered by some to be the industrial workshop of the world. British textile manufacturers desperately tried to produce fabrics and patterns that imitated Indian textiles, attempting to ‘cash in’ on the in-demand designs. To do so, however, the British manufacturers required an in-depth knowledge of Indian textiles—and J. Forbes Watson was just the man to help.

1964: Fountains, Fireworks, Fifty Years Ago – a World’s Fair

World's Fair steel replica of the planet earth
Unisphere, by day and by night, at the 1964-65 New York World’s fair. New York World’s Fair 1964-1965 Corporation. Official souvenir book of the New York World’s Fair, 1965. West Nyack, N.Y.: Dexter Press, c1965. Smithsonian Libraries. T786 1964 .C1

 

The Cooper-Hewitt Library has a large collection of over 2,000 World’s fair catalogues and books. Many are the official guidebooks that visitors could purchase with descriptions of pavilions and that helped locate sights and other points of interest. As a teenager, my mother had loved the 1939 World’s fair, so that when it came to New York City again in 1964-65, she wanted to see another World’s fair and have us children experience the same excitement and wonder.