I just acquired a used copy of this book, after seeing a review of it in a back issue of World of Interiors magazine. Published in 1995, this beautiful volume still looks right-out-of-the-bandbox, with gorgeous photos, great page design and elegant typography. Not merely a scholarly book on this fascinating topic, but also a book that celebrates the unique, lavish qualities of silk itself. Full-page, full-bleed photos bring everything into sharp focus; and it is the next best thing to actually perusing a whole handful of fabric swatches. I also appreciated the inclusion of photos of beautiful sample and vintage swatch books - it was like looking through a rare textile archive. Highly recommended!
This is a beautiful book. Printed on high quality art paper with lovely clear photos throughout, it charts the history of silk use and weaving in Europe. I've seen quite a few other books on silk over the years, but this is one that has always stuck in my mind for sheer beauty. The photos in highlight the sheen and weight and luxury of the fabrics being photographed and there are wonderful examples of silks dating back to the middle ages in some cases, though the bulk illustrated are from the 18th / 19th centuries.
The book starts with an introduction outlining the development of sericulture in China and the development of the silk road and the movement of silk to the west to Rome, Persia and Byzantium. The more detailed text starts with Renaissance Italy and works through to the 1940s. If you are looking for information on European silks this book should be on your reading list. Like the fabrics it talks about, it is a visual feast that also provides interesting and...
For anyone interested in silk textiles, or historic European costumes and furnishings, this book is a must. Well researched, it provides an excellent description of the history of the silk textile industry from its early days, with particular emphasis on the French silk industry. The photographs are superb and serve to clearly illustrate points in the text. The quality of the photos is such that one can see weave details; you can almost 'feel' the textiles. I highly recommend the book.
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