Household linens incarnate a complex tradition that spans centuries and an astounding breadth of cultures. They exist in an infinite variety of fibers and weaves and can be adorned with embroidery, lace and other exquisite refinements. Linens have oc
Household linens incarnate a complex tradition that spans centuries and an astounding breadth of cultures. They exist in an infinite variety of fibers and weaves and can be adorned with embroidery, lace and other exquisite refinements. Linens have occasionally become so silken, so finely damasked and so magnificently decorated that they aroused passions and often represented some of the most prized elements of interiors, rivaling works of art.
The Book of Fine Linen invites us to enter the elegant world of heirloom household fabrics, their use and manufacture, their embellishment and care. In her lively thematic treatment, Françoise de Bonneville presents countless fibers and materials as both quintessential examples of the weaver's art and unusually revealing testaments of the history of daily life.
Making extensive use of household inventories, diaries, and colorful details and anecdotes describing domestic arrangements, the author has examined centuries of textile history. She discusses the origins and symbolism of the trousseau, lovingly assembled over the course of many years by young women and their mothers and ceremoniously handed over to the young couple on their wedding day. Traditions of caring for linens, which occupied incredible amounts of women's time and expertise before the invention of the washing machine, are explored, as are methods of growing and weaving natural fibers such as cotton, linen and silk. Fabulous embroidery techniques and designs from Europe and America are also superbly illustrated and carefully explained.
A fascinating text is supplemented by a rich array of visual material drawn from archival photographs, vintage advertisements, old department store catalogues, and splendid paintings, as well as original photography commissioned especially for this volume in extraordinary textile collections, private homes, and the weaving and embroidery workshops of great contemporary manufacturers.
This sumptuously designed book, with its comprehensive glossary of technical terms, bibliography, and index, will make an exquisite and cherished gift for the bride-to-be as well as a stunning visual treat for textile collectors, decorators, and anyone interested in discovering the history of fine household fabrics, delightfully told, from the white linen cloth of ancient Egypt to the rainbow-hued coverlets of today.