This (Long_Shawl) dating back to the mid-19th century was originally a part of the Dr Joan Coleman Collection and was part of a trio along with (ZI2020.500778 EUROPE) and (ZI2020.500779 EUROPE). Later The Zay Initiative managed to acquire it from Kerry Taylor Auctions in 2020.
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 Long_Shawl or (Kirking_shawl) from Paisley, Scotland dating back to c. 1845-1855 is a (Jacquard) woven piece. With an ivory woollen base. It is woven (Selvedge) to Selvedge prominently in (Crimson) red and (cobalt) blue with touches of yellow (Ochre) and pink.
The plain ivory body has protruding foliage motifs in the form of thistles and trumpets framing it from all four sides primarily in cobalt and Crimson. An arrangement of a straight sprig of thistle flanked by two tilted ones has repeated alternately with another straight sprig of thistle flanked by two tilted trumpets. Both the arrangements are an extension of the dense and intricate (Phala).
The Phala comprises rows of stylized floral columns of intricately woven foliage forming different patterns resembling lilies, inverted trumpets, and temple steeples. The (Tanjir) in the Phala on both ends is only present at the bottom and is of the same thickness as the (hashiya). Both the Tanjir and the hashiya flaunt the same design where a (Paisley)/(Buta) is encased within a lotus-style or temple-style arch and is repeated all around the edge. A strip of scarlet fabric with colourful (Satin) tasselled fringes is attached on both (Warp) ends. The (Weft) end edges are finished with machine-stitched hems giving this piece a very clean finish.
It is important to note that long shawls of similar design distribution were in vogue during this period. With high waistlines, flowing skirts, and (Bodice) detailing pintucks and wide puff sleeves of women’s dresses in Great Britain during this time large shawls like this were the perfect accessories for a balanced silhouette. However, the absence of a Jacquard loom until the 1820s made it impossible for Shawl manufacturers to weave the entire piece in the same loom. Hence manufacturers usually produced the Shawl, and its borders separately and then stitched them together.
By the 1850s with the widening of skirts and (Crinolines) frames, these shawls became even more popular as it was difficult to wear a jacket or a coat. This resulted in the inclusion of at least one such Shawl in the wedding trousseau of every lady from the aristocracy thus giving rise to the term (Kirking_shawl) especially in Scotland as they were worn to the kirk or church on the first Sunday after the wedding and then again at christenings of children.