French silk tassels, left is 18th century with chipped gilt header, the right 17th century
Most of you probably know I’m an antique textile dealer and as such I collect a lot of things related to the textile world. One of my collections that I’ve previously shown is my collection of antique tassels here .
metal and silk cord wrapped in raw linen with handmade embellishments
I collect the unusual and rare items such as this handmade 18th century trim. We dealers have a tendency to keep the very rare if not the best of things.
18th century French silk trim with silk and metal needlework
Because I can sometimes collect at an astounding rate and to save my checking account from bankruptcy I started looking for items I wouldn’t be able to collect quickly. Things so unusual that even I had never heard of them until I stumbled upon them.
While on a trip one time I found a couple of unusual 17th century Dutch lead cloth/textile seals. Cloth was one of the most valuable and highly regulated and controlled materials in the 17th century. The tags showed the cloth was guild approved, payment of custom taxes was paid and these seals actually served as tamper indicators. It is not possible to shorten a bolt of fabric without disturbing the seals.
In the British Museum
In the British Museum
Coat-of-arms can be found on cloth seals such as this Calvert arms and serves as ownership identifier tag rather than a custom duties tag.
Another fun little item is this piece of bone used for stamping out bone buttons.
How about ephemera or paper goods, these are 19th century French linen export tags fronted with the lightest covering of real silver. As you can see some of them are starting to patina down and take on a more tarnished look. These would have been used on linen bolts indicating the yardage. (Sorry these are very difficult to get a good picture and show detail at a distance.)
Do the French ever do anything wrong in how they label things? To see other examples of English and Irish tags go here. Considering this was a throw away item once the cloth bolt was cut into it's amazing that so many wonderful examples still exist.
18th century prick & pounce vellum
I love this item it’s 18th century French and used for transferring a design on fabric for embroidery. A design would be drawn onto a thick piece of vellum and then pricked through with a sharp instrument leaving tiny holes. Then the vellum would be placed on a piece of fabric and pounced all over with powder that filters into the tiny holes, leaving tiny dots on the fabric. An embroider would then follow the dots to create their embroidery.
You can see how thick this piece of vellum is and would not have been thin enough to use for paper. Old vellum is animal skin whereas modern vellum, used for things like blueprints, is made from vegetable vellum.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a few of my unique textile items in my collection. So now it’s your turn do you collect anything unusual or unique?
I hope you all have a wonderful week!