These two “paisley” vests belonged to Charles Manigault (1795-1874), probably c. 1840. One shows a fairly traditional boteh pattern and is printed while the other is woven with an elaborate repetition of “exotic” temples. The paisley one has corded edging and pocket openings; the temple vest has a woven tape binding on the edges and pockets. The paisley example has covered buttons, the temple one has 8 small brass buttons.
Manigault was a wealthy land owner, rice planter and merchant. He traveled widely, especially in France and was very cosmopolitan. He even spoke French at home on occasion. In 1825 he married Elizabeth Manigault Heyward. One of his sons, Gabriel Edward (1833-1899), was curator of the Charleston Museum in the 1870s. Both of these vests came to the museum from direct descendants. The paisley one from Emma Manigault Jenkins Gribbin (a great-granddaughter through Charles’ son, Louis) in 1945. The temple one from Joanna Stewart Jenkins (a great-great granddaughter also through Louis) in 1982.
Manigault’s printed paisley vest is currently on exhibit in Positively Paisley in our Historic Textiles Gallery, now through January 5, 2014.
Throughout the 19th century, the boteh motif (now known as paisley) was extremely popular. The earliest shawls were brought back from Kashmir and India, but were soon copied and expanded upon in France, England and Scotland. It seems that everyone had to have something “paisley.” After 1805, the weavers in Paisley, Scotland essentially took over shawl weaving, hence the wonderful Middle Eastern patterns became known as paisley.
Islamic designs were traditionally non-representational, but in the West the aesthetic demand was for exoticism. In addition to the boteh or pine motif, imaginative designs included temples, animals and people.
Shawl printing was an art form in Norwich, England. They usually used block prints for shawls, and roller prints for dress and clothing fabrics from the 1830s. Paisley designs were printed to imitate the woven goods. In 1858 it took a week to weave a shawl; 20-30 shawls could be printed in one week.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection. Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday