Furnishing fabric of roller-printed cotton, printed by Samuel Matley & Sons, Hodge, 1818
Height: 30.5 cm, Width: 40.6 cm, Height: 12 in, Width: 16 in
British Galleries, room 118a
Ilett's green, patented in 1809, is used.
Printed by Samuel Matley & Son, Hodge, Cheshire
Joseph Ilett patented his permanent dye in 1809 'for producing fast greens on cotton'. Before its introduction green was produced by placing blue over yellow. It was one of a number of dyeing innovations based on chemical discoveries made in the early 1800s. [27/03/2003]
The pattern of this printed cotton has been created with an engraved metal roller. Roller-printing on textiles had been introduced in the late 18th century, at first mainly for small-patterned dress fabrics. By the time this cotton was printed in about 1818, the technique had been developed for much larger-scale designs, and by the 1830s roller-printing had largely replaced block-printing in the production of fashionable furnishings.
Materials & Making
The development of roller-printing coincided with a radical transformation in the dyestuffs available for printing on cotton. Until the beginning of the 19th century, printing had been based on the use of vegetable dyes. In Britain, France and Germany new chemical processes were developed and mineral colours produced which transformed the palette of colours available to the printer. The green dye used on this cotton was a British discovery, but most innovations were made on the Continent and had to be rediscovered by chemists in British printworks.
This cotton was printed by Matley & Son, a family of calico printers. Samuel Matley had worked at Red Bank and at Scotland Bridge in Manchester before taking over the factory at Hodge near Mottram, Cheshire, in 1805. The firm continued in production there until 1870.