Red and Blue Cotton Pillar Print
English, ca. 1830


Between 1825 and 1835, a distinctive type of roller-printed cotton (or chintz) became very popular in England for use as bedcoverings and curtains. Known as “pillar prints,” the pronounced verticality of these cottons as well as their often dramatic coloring and flamboyant patterns made them perfect for use in long expanses. The genre was remarkably versatile; some pillar patterns featured Chinoiserie motifs, others pseudo-Gothic elements, and still others overtly Neoclassical motifs such as urns and trophies. This example is classically inspired, with fluted columns punctuated by scrolling acanthus volutes supporting baskets brimming with ripe fruit and flowers, all festooned with husk garlands. It has a deep red ground produced using a secondary wooden surface roller. The dyes used for this type of chintz were often derived from minerals, as opposed to earlier vegetal dyes.

A fragment of this same pattern is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (54.838). A version with a striped yellow and brown ground is illustrated in Printed Textiles: English and American Cottons and Linens, 1750-1850, Florence Montgomery, 1970, p. 325, fig. 371.

96" H x 94" W

Red and blue cotton pillar print

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