Swaisland, Charles1850

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Printed shawl of fine wool in an open plain weave with a crimped warp fringe at either end. Elaborate end-pieces are printed from two sets of 15 inch blocks on the deep yellow ground which covers the entire shawl. A narrow border (4.5 inches wide including guard-stripes) is based in similar sets of blocks, giving a repeat of 30 inches at the ends, 15 inches up the sides with pattern-filled leaves over a meandering branch, and vertical and horizontal borders being of related but different designs.

Each half of the shawl is filled with a design which repeats only in the two halves, linking up the sides, and with fronds of leaves and flowers thrusting towards each other at the centre. When the shawl is stretched, as it must have been for printing, this area of pattern extends some 5 feet square. It is filled with decorative leaves and branches in shapes suggesting palm trees and fern fronds, with some sprays of bell-shaped flowers, blossoms and flower like hollyhocks. Over these on each side are five elongated pines, the two at each side for outline and ground colour (dark, almost black, maroon and jade, green, to either side of a central red pine) and with their own patterned fillings. These fillings and grounds are interrupted by parts of the main leaf and flower pattern superimposed on the pines, while the rest appears to continue behind them.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Shawl
  • Creator: Swaisland, Charles
  • Date Created: 1850
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 140 in excluding fringe, Length: 4.5 in fringe at each end, Width: 72 in
  • Medium: Plain woven wool with fringe, and block-printed