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The Story of Colour in Textiles


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Preface Introduction Chapter one: Fragments and glimpses - dyes from pre history Chapter two: The Dark Ages - surprising colour Chapter three: New skills, burgeoning trade - the Middle Ages Chapter four: Broadening horizons - the sixteenth century Chapter five: Mystery, art and science - the seventeenth century Chapter six: Analysis, understanding and invention - the eighteenth century Chapter seven: Ryots, rewards and handsome colours - the nineteenth century Chapter eight: A hundred yellows - the twentieth and twenty-first centuries References Photo credits Bibliography Index

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An introduction to a broad and fascinating subject - how and why people coloured textiles, whether clothing, wall and floor coverings, or pieces such as tapestries that were decorative for their own sake.

About the Author

Susan Kay-Williams is the Chief Executive of the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court. She has a long-term interest in textiles and was introduced to dyeing on a one-day workshop in the 1980s. Susan is constantly in demand as a speaker, especially for NADFAS in the UK, and internationally in the US and Japan. She is a fellow of the RSA.


The Story of Colour in Textiles is an introduction to a broad, diverse and fascinating subject of how and why people dyed textiles. A fresh review of this topic, this book brings previous scholars' work to light again, alongside new discoveries and research. * Embroidery *
A detailed and fascinating history of the dyeing of fabric and yarn, this is a great book for textiles students, history lovers and anybody interested in dyeing processes and history. Its subtitle is Imperial Purple to Denim Blue, which is a fabulously concise and intriguing description of the journey dyeing has taken over the centuries. The book looks at the symbolism of colour through the ages, the many natural dye sources and their origins and the impact of synthetic dyes on the textile industry. * Inside Crochet *
The book covers an impressive range of material; The Arnolfini Marriage, the emergence of meanings in colour, The Plictho, selvedge colours and hierarchies of dyers are all clearly discussed... The Story of Colour in Textiles is well-researched and readable. It is engaging...has good colour reproduction, and satisfyingly extensive references at the end of each chapter. A great book for both the casual and the academic reader, it merits being kept for reference. I thoroughly recommend it. -- Lorna Lindfield, Avon Guild * Journal for Weavers, Spinners & Dyers *
Aimed equally at textile student and the craft dyer, [The Story of Colour in Textiles] is full of fascinating information for anyone interested in the history of decorative arts . . . For anyone who works with fabric, this is a very interesting read and an ideal way to gain an overview of fabric dyeing and its lengthy history. * Creative Life Magazine *
This beautifully presented book with its superb illustrations will be greatly enjoyed and appreciated by all those with an interest in textiles and embroidery. As we follow the history of colour and dyeing from pre-history to the present day it is interwoven with politics, religion, social standing, wealth, trade, fashion and the exciting developments and challenges that came with the arrival of synthetic dyestuffs. It is a fascinating story on a subject that is part of our everyday life. * NADFAS Review *

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