This ivory (satin) (long_shawl) dating back to the first quarter of the 19th century was originally a part of the Dr Joan Coleman Collection. It was first purchased at an auction in Christie’s, London in 1976. Later The Zay Initiative managed to acquire it from Kerry Taylor Auctions in 2021.
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 stunning long_shawl that was manufactured in Norwich c. 1825. It has a plain silk body of satin weave and woollen woven borders. With a pair of broad (phala), and a set of two (hashiya) this shawl qualifies as a (kirking_shwal).
The phala is woven with wool on the ivory satin base and has five large (paisley)/(buta). Each paisley is composed of swirling curved thistles in bottle green with scarlet red midriffs that hold a bouquet at its (shikam) in light blue, green, and scarlet. The space between the paisleys has an intricate (jaal) in scarlet, pink, lilac, blue, and green. Each (tanjir) is composed of two layers one of which holds similar paisley motifs as the phala but on a smaller scale and facing the opposite direction and mistletoe-like sprigs arranged alternately in a single line. The other layer is composed of a floral motif in scarlet repeated along a green wavy vine.
A pair of separately woven hashiya with a similar design as the tanjir is attached to the (weft) ends of the shawl by means of machine stitches proving its (draw_loom) origins. A strip of the base ivory silk with loose hanging fringes is also machine stitched to the (warp) ends of the shawl to complete its look.
It is important to note that long shawls of similar design distribution were in vogue during this period. With high waistline, 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 perfect accessory for a balanced silhouette. 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.
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