This rectangular (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 March 27, 1991. 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 beautiful long_shawl manufactured in Paisley Scotland, c. 1835 is primarily woven in ivory, green, red and (indigo) blue. Although identified as wool – the primary fabric in ivory – in its acquisition receipt by its previous collector – Kerry Taylor – it could be safely concluded as the silk of (satin) weave upon closer perusal. The estimated year of manufacturing and its (selvedge) to selvedge weaving concludes that it was produced in a (jacquard) loom.
It is a typical (kirking_shawl) of its era with a pair of (phala), two pairs of (tanjir), and a couple of (hashiya). The phala is filled with eight large floral (buta)/(pailseys). Each paisley has a thin ivory halo around it with sprouting sprigs of foliage in red and bottle green filling its body. The (jaal) of the phala covering the space between the paisleys is filled with foliage primarily green.
The tanjir and the hashiya are filled with two wavy intertwined vines forming a chain-like pattern in green and red. A tiny red bud embellishes the troughs of the red vines.
A repeat of sprigged foliage runs along the phala and the hashiya framing the central ivory (matan) of the shawl. The four corners of the frame are further decorated with a (kunjbuta) resting on a (pai) of green foliage tilted in an angle mirroring one another.
A strip of fringes is machine stitched at each (warp) end to enhance the shawls daintiness and elegance.
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. 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.