This (long_shawl) 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 May 20, 1976. 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 rectangular (jacquard) woven long_shawl is a beautiful piece of silk and wool originally manufactured in Paisley, Scotland. Primarily woven in an ivory (satin) body, this (shawl) emanates vibrancy in its use of (coral) pink, orange, and (viridian) green wool on its weft to construct its borders. The (warp) ends hang loose in the form of fringed tassels.
The (phala) of this long_shawl is not as broad and elongated as some similar contemporary pieces. It is very compact displaying a hundred and twenty (paisley)/(buta) distributed in five rows with twenty-four paisleys per row. The orientation of each row is flipped alternately creating an almost zigzag pattern across its white base. Each buta has a very distinct bloom in coral pink at its (shikam).
The (tanjir) and the (hashiya) are of the same width, which is unique for a shawl like this. Usually contemporary (kirking_shawl) displayed a narrower hashiya in comparison to the tanjir. Both have a similar floral arrangement of coral pink flowers entwined in a vine of viridian green. The tanjir and the hashiya are topped with a frame composed of two alternating bouquets – one with a bud in the centre flanked by two sprigs of foliage and the other a fully bloomed flower with two stems of leaves. The four corners of the frame are further decorated with a large tilted (kunjbuta) each displaying a floral (pai) and a distinct coral pink flower at its shikam.
Although it had been identified as a woollen shawl by its previous owner – Kerry Taylor – it could be safely concluded upon closer inspection that it is indeed made of silk in a satin weave.
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 accessory 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.