Coming September 23, 2014: "Printed Textiles: British and American Cottons and Linens, 1700 - 1850," by Linda Eaton, Winterthur Museum

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"The real merit of a design must consist in its fitness for the market for which it is intended, combined with novelty." (Calico Printer Edmund Potter, 1852)

Cover Art Printed Textiles Book

With this volume, we offer not only information for academics and collectors but also inspiration for artists and designers as well as an introduction to the important Winterthur collection of British and American printed textiles.

After more than four decades as the gold standard on the history of furnishing fabrics, Printed Textiles: British and American Cottons and Linens, 1700 – 1850, has been comprehensively updated by Winterthur’s Linda Eaton, the John L. & Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections and Senior Curator of Textiles, offering a treasure trove of new insights and information since the book’s original publication in 1970.

“Take the ‘bones' of a classic volume, rewrite with updated and newly researched material, add 600 glorious color images, and you have the makings of a new standard in the field,” said Thomas Savage, Director of Museum Affairs at Winterthur.

Long considered the authoritative sourcebook for textiles influencing the social and political worlds of two continents, Printed Textiles offers rare insights into the fascinating – and sometimes surprising -- origins of designs, textures, patterns, and colors today inextricably woven into modern culture. Author Linda Eaton has produced a worthy sequel to Florence Montgomery’s iconic 1970 publication, Printed Textiles, offering a fresh and thoroughly documented look at not only fabrics and techniques but also the broader worlds of commerce and material culture.

“The publication of Florence Montgomery’s study of British and American cottons and linens in 1970 marked a watershed moment in the historiography of textile scholarship. Her Printed Textiles provided a comprehensive volume that was to become both a guide an a model….There is no doubt that this new publication, based on Montgomery’s book, will be just as influential,” said Mary Schoeser, Independent Scholar and Honorary President of the Textile Society UK.

The book is based on the collection of historic furnishing textiles in Winterthur Museum, collected for more than 25 years by Winterthur founder Henry Francis du Pont and added to since his death, through purchases and the generosity of many donors. Taking the form of quilts, curtain, slipcovers, or design repeats, the Winterthur Museum collection includes some of the finest cotton and linen textiles made or used in America and Britain between 1700 and 1850.

One of the fastest growing and potentially lucrative trades in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, on the forefront of developments in science and engineering, chemistry and technology, the textile industry is a fascinating lens into international trade relations and cultural exchange over two centuries. With hundreds of beautifully photographed samples, this significant addition to textile scholarship allows for a full appreciation of these fascinating fabrics.

“People have been asking me for years when Winterthur might update Printed Textiles, and it has been tremendously exciting to build upon the seminal work of its first author, Florence Montgomery,” said Eaton. “People relate to fabrics on a personal level, it’s something everyone can understand and feel, whether they’re wearing fabric, sitting on it, hanging it from curtain rods, admiring it on a sofa, or dressing a child. It’s ubiquitous in our lives and inherently personal.”

The book offers insights into printed cottons and linens that include the period shown in Winterthur's Costumes of Downton Abbey exhibition. For example, although a dress worn by the character of Lady Sybil looks contemporary, it is an authentic Edwardian-era summer dress, one of only a handful of original vintage costumes. The fabric is a poignant example of how classic designs are timeless and how designers in every period look to the past for inspiration.

Additional highlights of the book include:

  • Textiles shown in black-and-white in the original book have been re-photographed in color, adding a rich new dimension to the experience of the book.
  • Over 100 exquisite pieces acquired by Winterthur Museum since 1970 have been added to both the text discussion and photography in the book, significantly enhancing the depth and breadth of the contents.
  • In all, over 600 spectacular color photographs are in the new edition.
  • Eaton’s book offers a trove of compelling information for academics and collectors and reams of inspiration for artists and designers.
  • Printed Textiles highlights the elegant, even rarefied, world of furnishing fabrics in a format that is accessible and entertaining.
  • Printed Textiles is an excellent introduction to the important Winterthur collection of British and American printed textiles.

Winterthur’s expertise in American decorative arts provides a unique position from which to document and discuss the industry. With the first publication of Printed Textiles, Winterthur curator Montgomery outlined for the first time all aspects of these fabrics. The book quickly became a classic, serving as a comprehensive guide on creative and technical issues through detailed research, expert insight, and dramatic illustrations.

As a model in object-based study, it was seminal in the development of the discipline now known as material culture—an achievement appropriate to Montgomery’s association with Winterthur, where the first such master’s program had been established in 1952, soon after she joined the museum….There is no doubt that this new publication, based on Montgomery’s book, will be just as influential. — Mary Schoeser, Independent Scholar, Honorary President of The Textile Society UK, Foreword, Printed Textiles: British and American Cottons and Linens, 1700 – 1850

Complemented by hundreds of color images and unique new findings and insights, this updated volume richly enhances a classic reference.

For a range of high-resolution, color images from the book, please visit PhotoBucket by clicking on this link or paste it into your URL:

The password is: winterthur (all lowercase)

For more information, please visit

Winterthur—known worldwide for its preeminent collection of American decorative arts, naturalistic gardens, and research library for the study of American art and material culture—offers a variety of tours, exhibitions, programs, and activities throughout the year. General admission includes a tour of some of the most notable spaces in the 175-room house as well as access to the Winterthur Garden and Galleries, special exhibitions, a narrated tram tour (weather permitting), the Campbell Collection of Soup Tureens, and the Enchanted Woods children’s garden. $20 adults; $18 for students and seniors; $5 for ages 2–11. Tickets are valid for two consecutive days except for timed tickets to view Costumes of Downton Abbey; reservations for timed tickets must be made in advance of each visit to the exhibition.

Museum hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday–Sunday. Winterthur, located on Route 52, six miles northwest of Wilmington, Delaware, and five miles south of U.S. Route 1, is closed on Mondays (except during Yuletide), Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Winterthur is committed to accessible programming for all. For information, including special services, call 800.448.3883, 302.888.4600, or TTY 302.888.4907, or visit

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Liz Farrell
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
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