Paisley hand loom shawl, 1840s
The striking shawl catches the eye with its rich tomato red ground and contrasting, fuchsia fringed border. The color combination was the height of fashion when the shawl was woven. The electric excitement of vivid red has been known to stimulate subconsciously the (male) psyche. Indeed, red is the most chromatic, saturated basic color; thus, it is the pre-eminent hue.
The shawl, hand woven with a blend of wool and silk, features an all-over diagonal pattern of floral paisley (boteh) motifs in shades of green, pink, ochre, and pale blue. It is bordered all around with larger floral bouquets; each corner has a large floral paisley motif.
In the first half of the 19th century, Europeans copied the designs of Indian shawls. The most important town for production of these shawls was Paisley, Scotland, whose name became synonymous with both the shawls and the Asian teardrop or pinecone motif which decorated them. What a pleasure to have at last a shawl whose provenance is the original center of the "Paisley shawl."
Provenance: The oral provenance from a descendant states the shawl belonged to his grandmother Elizabeth Adam (nee Cuthbert) of 86 canal Street, Paisley, Scotland.
The condition is almost excellent. The shawl has a small mend (about 1") and several small stains near the center-top edge.
It measures 67" square.