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Selling Silks: A Merchant's Sample Book Hardcover – May 20, 2014
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For several periods in the 18th century, England banned the importation of French silks for various commercial and political reasons. This did not stop wealthy English customers from wanting to buy the silks of France. The sample book reproduced here is plausibly presented as a sample book for English buyers to order the French silks they desired...illegaly. Confiscated by an English customs official, the sample book went through various hands until it was purchased by the V&A.
This is an important book. The samples are photographed brilliantly-fiendishly difficult to do. The author leaves no stone unturned to place the silks, and their makers into commercial and historic context. And even a casual look through the books will amaze you-the technical range, the colorways, the designs, and the sheer rococo exuberance is entrancing. You will ache to own just a small fragment. This book is as close as you will get.
If you love fashion, fabric, or are a designer, if you costume for stage or theatre, or just delight in beauty, invest in this book.