Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

Bromley Hall/Ollive/Talwin & Foster


A competitor of Bannister Hall, Bromley Hall Printworks, also used various names with the change of ownership. From the 1680s to 1820s Bromley Hall (a building around since 1485) on the River Lea descended through a prominent Quaker family. Benjamin Ollive was a linen dyer who by 1719 had become a calico printer. The River Lea provided easy access to water and his sons followed into the business expanding the premises. In 1783 the family acquired copper printing plates from a printer in Merton who went bankrupt.Joseph Ollive bequeathed his business to his nephew Joseph Talwin and Joseph managed the firm as Talwin & Foster. The V&A is home to the rare pattern book of Talwin & Foster which contains 144 copper plate designs which can be seen at this link. Talwin & Foster's products were...

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Bannister Hall/Charles Swainson


Bannister Hall Printworks, famous for several bird chintzes, was founded in 1798 by Richard Jackson and John Stephenson. Located near Preston, Lancashire, it was the leading printworks for woodblock furniture chintzes during the 19th century. In 1804 Jackson and Stephenson would bring Charles Swainson into the company, eventually completely selling the company to him in 1809. Between 1809 and 1825 it was owned by Charles Swainson, and from 1825-1856 it was known as Charles Swainson & Company. The Swainsons would open a second “big mill” called Fishwick Mill, with John Birley & Sons. People still referred to the company by various names including Bannister Hall, The Big Mill, Birley & Sons, Swainson & Sons. Eventually, in 1892, Edmund Wright Stead would purchase the blocks, machinery, and more than 9,000 designs of Bannister Hall for the competitor...

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Inscribed Quilts


Studying all these Northern Chintz Style Quilts with signatures and presentation info got us thinking about how and when the craze started. We see the proliferation of signatures on the Baltimore album quilts and even in the deep South too. So, it wasn’t associated with just one area or region. The earliest known autograph album was created in 1466, but it would take until 1507 before the “album amicorum” or book of friends to really be established. In the mid 16th century it was fashionable and became common throughout Europe in the 17th century. In the United States, 1820s are usually the time cited of popularity. So, what inspired the writing on quilts? The creation of Indelible ink. It may well be that earlier quilts had signatures or notes that simply didn’t survive the passage of...

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Northern Chintz Quilt Style


As some of you may recall, I’ve been researching whether there is a regional style of chintz applique. (If you want to re-read the previous blogs, here are the links to the first, second, third, and fourth blog.) After more research, I identified 20 quilts in the style, although the whereabouts are not always known. To see these quilts, please check out our Pinterest page at this link. Wherever possible we’ve included documentation about the quilt, but a few quilts in private collections are not included. Because of some written records, we know there are still additional quilts in this style out there. So, if you know about one of these quilts, please send me the information! We also identified more than 10 mixed album quilts which fit into this grouping by both style (chintz applique...

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Dye: Prussian Blue


Because we research indigo for our books and more, we tend to write about indigo, instead of Prussian Blue. However, as we continue to focus on dyes, it is important to include Prussian Blue, an extremely popular dye of the 18-19thth century. Prussian blue was “invented” in 1704 by Henrich Diesbach in a laboratory. I used quotations around the word “invent” because it was actually a mistake made when trying to create the red color of Florentine Lake. The inventors quickly retraced their steps to create one of the more popular blue pigment and dyes. Prussian blue was much easier to work with in textiles than indigo and could be used in a variety of printing processes. Sadly, it does turn brown if exposed to heat or in the presence of alkalis. So, one way to...

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