Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dear Damask.....

Yes, damask is dear to the heart of all antique textile collectors and dealers. It is the backbone textile most frequently used in household linens, such as tablecloths, napkins, towels, and bedcovers.

Fairchild's "Dictionary of Textiles" describe damask as:
       ....a broad range of jacquard-woven fabrics with elaborate floral or geometric patterns, made of linen, cotton, wool, worsted, silk, rayon, acetate, and other manufactured fibers.  The pattern is distinguished from the ground by contrasting luster and is reversible....

     ...Single damask is made with a five-harness satin weave; the true (double) damask is woven with an eight harness satin weave and has a firm hand.
Early 20th Century double damask pattern of stylized poppies


As a gardener, I find the floral damask patterns to be the most lovely. Undoubtedly the most popular are the rose patterns.

Close behind are tablecloths destined for fall with chrysanthemums.

Here are some napkins I have on hand with a pattern of iris.

There is no doubt that this napkin is of Irish linen, with a Irish wolfhound, clovers, and other Irish symbols woven into the damask.
 The shop recently hosted a double damask set of large napkins with images of wild game. Each napkin was centered by a large stag, with quail, partridge, and rabbits woven into the pattern, but they were purchased before I could get a photo taken.

Laurel wreaths are often woven into damask towels, and the wreaths are often embroidered with the owner's monogram.  Although this damask towel is white, I have also have Victorian era green and turkey red damask at the Stone Cottage Workshop.

With the advent of rayon in the 1920's, rayon damask became quite popular by mid century due to its shimmer, ability to take dye, and ease of ironing. I often find rayon damask with original labels from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Japan. This tablecloth and 12 napkin set currently at the shop has a wonderful golden glimmer and would look beautiful under candle light at Thanksgiving.

This set has a subtle floral damask pattern behind the border plaid - perfect for fall dinners.

Emily Post hawked linen damask in the 1920's ....

Martha Stewart currently uses damask in products for every part of the home....

Damask has been with us for a thousand years. And hopefully a thousand more.

 photo signature_zps19d987c8.png


Post a Comment