Friday, June 4, 2010

Persian Pears & Florence Peto

Miscellaneous thoughts about paisley:

Magazine cover featuring a boteh or shawl print


Found this picture of a baby nurse wearing a terrific ruffled cape made of a paisley print, maybe in the 1870s.
It's from a blog called 19th-century American Women: A Museum in a Blog
http://b-womeninamericanhistory19.blogspot.com/



Wool/cotton blend printed in a paisley, about 1880

I wrote about the lack of historic sources for the term "Persian Pickle" recently. Click here to see that post:
http://barbarabrackman.blogspot.com/2010/04/persian-pickles-and-shawl-prints.html


Indigo paisley border about 1890.
The jagged edges imitate the woven shawl designs.

I'm still working on sources for various names for the design. I was surprised to NOT find the word paisley in the Oxford English Dictionary---is the word not used in England? (ouch! there are a lot of negatives in that thought.)

12 hours later: I went to the library and read their edition in regular-size print of the O.E.D. Paisley is in there as "a garment or material made [in Paisley] or having the curvilinear design characterstic of cloth made there, or the pattern itself." The earliest use of the term Paisley shawl they cite is 1834; the earliest possible use of the word for a boteh pattern is 1898---"trimmed with paisleys."

While reading my notes about Florence Peto, who was a textile dealer and historian in the 1930-1960 years, I came across her reference to a paisley design as a "Persian Pear" in the Magazine Antiques in July, 1942, giving us another visual metaphor for the paisley cone shape or boteh.



The idea of a Persian Pear may come from oriental rug dealers. I found an article in a 1918 magazine criticizing all the imagined myths published about rug motifs.



As for the so-called Persian pear pattern, concerning which the rug books evolve so many fanciful theories, I know no more about it than they. But I do know that the Persians call it the bute, meaning twig or bush, by which they further designate the camel-thorn of their bare plains. And I have seen the same design on old Indian silks…
"About Rug Books" by H.G. Dwight in The Bookman Volume 46, 1918

Read more about Florence Peto by clicking here:

http://www.quiltershalloffame.net/index_files/Page854.html

http://mendofleur.com/2009/11/04/florence-peto-part-i/

http://mendofleur.com/2009/11/06/florence-peto-part-ii/


And here's a small stamped piece by Linda Frost.

She sees birds in everything, including butah, boteh and bute shapes.



Check her blog 13th Street Studio


2 comments:

WoolenSails said...

Love the indigo and those paisley birds, very unique work.

Debbie

Phyllis said...

Thank you so much for the reference on Florence Peto. I am pleasantly surprised, as I consider your research the best. Your book Clues in the Calico is pretty much my constant reference for every question I have on quilt and textile history.