This brown square (shawl) in silk dating back to the early 19th century was originally a part of the Dr Joan Coleman Collection. It was first purchased at a Phillips auction on September 9, 1992. Later, The Zay Initiative acquired it from Kerry Taylor Auctions in 2020. This shawl was part of a set of a trio at the Dr Joan Coleman Collection alongside an ivory silk square shawl (ZI2020.500758 EUROPE) which is also a part of The Zay Initiative collection.
Dr Joan Coleman began collecting shawls in 1976 and developed her lifelong passion for collecting. She was a regular at the London salesrooms of Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips – three of the most outstanding auction houses of the period in the world – getting to know the dealers and learning in the process. She acquired vast knowledge and dedicated hours carefully cataloguing her ever-growing collection. She intended to loan her collection to different museums and institutions for the benefit of learning and education. Her collection is one of the largest and the finest private shawl collections to have ever graced the world with shawls ranging from Kashmir, Paisley, Edinburgh, Norwich, France, and Iran.
This is a brown (burnt_umber) square silk shawl in (satin) weave manufactured in Norwich c.1835.
It is embellished with gold, pink and blue wool. The lack of a distinct border in this shawl makes it unique amongst other contemporary shawls of similar patterns. The only semblance of any border in this shawl is the fringed tassels around it on all four sides.
The entire field or body of the shawl has an intricately woven design of floral arrangements along several central meandering vines. The foliage and the vines are woven primarily in golden wool while the flowers and other floral elements are mostly in pink and blue.
The body of the shawl is strewn with several darning mostly in black threads testifying to its wear and tear over the years. Square shawls like this were usually folded diagonally in half and were draped around the shoulders and were a very fashionable accessory during the first quarter of the 19th century.