Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/exhibitions/1159161441/

Embroidered and Embellished

A fanciful, romantic, and stylized interpretation of nature embellished men’s waistcoats in 18th-century France. Realistic and exaggerated flowers were the preferred form of decoration and displayed the exceptional skills of France’s embroidery professionals, who employed a painterly approach that required a sophisticated color sense and delicate rendering of light and shadow. A majority of the waistcoats and samples in this gallery were bequeathed to Cooper Hewitt by Richard C. Greenleaf, who assembled one of the most important collections of European textiles and lace in the United States. The waistcoats, along with embroidery samples and their related designs on paper, illustrate the exquisite artistry and craftsmanship that made French design the standard for men’s dress across the royal courts of Europe. Among the most fashionable piece of clothing for a gentleman of the ancien régime, a white silk waistcoat was the perfect canvas for displaying elaborate floral frameworks. To set the fashion, a gentleman needed dozens, if not hundreds, of waistcoats festooned not only with beautiful flowers, but clever references that sparked conversation. This growing demand for novelty inspired embroidery designers to add animals, insects, romantic vistas, and even cultural and historical references to heighten the whimsy and topicality of their waistcoat designs. The gold and silver thread, sequins, seed pearls, faceted glass, and paste beads helped elevate men’s clothing to a height of elegance and intricacy rarely seen since.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18390411/

  • Designed by Georg Melchior Kraus
  • engraving, hand-colored with brush and watercolor on cream paper
  • Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf

These fashion plates date to the final years of the 1780s and illustrate the marked shift toward a more understated elegance for men. Soft, buff-colored breeches with simple ties at the knee were worn with top boots and spurs, suggesting outdoorsy pursuits. The waistcoat, perhaps printed rather than embroidered, is squared off along the bottom edge, its lower half revealed by the long black cutaway coat. This gentleman’s hair appears unpowdered and is topped with a wide-brimmed, round hat. The only ornamentation is the fob ribbon with a gold sealing wax stamp that hangs below the waist.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18390417/

  • Designed by Georg Melchior Kraus
  • engraving, hand-colored with brush and watercolor on cream paper
  • Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf

These fashion plates date to the final years of the 1780s and illustrate the marked shift toward a more understated elegance for men. Soft, buff-colored breeches with simple ties at the knee were worn with top boots and spurs, suggesting outdoorsy pursuits. The waistcoat, perhaps printed rather than embroidered, is squared off along the bottom edge, its lower half revealed by the long black cutaway coat. This gentleman’s hair appears unpowdered and is topped with a wide-brimmed, round hat. The only ornamentation is the fob ribbon with a gold sealing wax stamp that hangs below the waist.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18172773/

  • brush and gouache over graphite on thin board
  • Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council

While executed in the 19th century, these two drawings capture the mocking spirit of singerie. This foppish pair have the clothing and accessories predominant in 18th-century France: she has a feathered confection of a hat, powdered wig, pink muff, and deeply ruched skirt, while he, engaged in prayer, wears a three-piece suit and a powdered wig with a black wig bag.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18172779/

  • brush and gouache over graphite on thin board
  • Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council

While executed in the 19th century, these two drawings capture the mocking spirit of singerie. This foppish pair have the clothing and accessories predominant in 18th-century France: she has a feathered confection of a hat, powdered wig, pink muff, and deeply ruched skirt, while he, engaged in prayer, wears a three-piece suit and a powdered wig with a black wig bag.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18250433/

  • Designed by Christophe Huet
  • etching on laid paper
  • Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council

In this print, a monkey in fine clothing expertly wields his palette of paints and a number of paintbrushes. He gazes directly at the viewer, conveying confidence in his artistic abilities. Behind him, another monkey molds clay on a board set upon a barrel.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18250599/

  • Designed by Christophe Huet
  • engraving on laid paper
  • Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council

A well-equipped monkey with a musket, powder flask, and hunting hound quietly approaches two plump rabbits from behind. In reality, rabbits have a strong flight response so it is unlikely this duo would have been successful in their pursuit.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445229/

  • silk
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf
  • flowers
  • royal court
  • drinking
  • men's clothing
  • music
  • aristocratic
  • unfinished
  • tailors
  • anthropomorphic
  • monkeys
  • palm trees

A trio of monkeys provides musical entertainment while their companion on the pocket flap above reclines with a bottle of rum.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445203/

  • silk, metallic thread, metallic foil
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

Halley's Comet The ideals of the Enlightenment were familiar to most people in 18th-century France. The French press reported widely on the latest scientific and political news and provided most classes of people with an impressive knowledge of current events. Nicolas Louis de Lacaille (1713–1762), a French astronomer, was the reluctant recipient of popular acclaim for his cataloging of over 10,000 stars at the Cape of Good Hope during the 1750s. Lacaille also determined that Edmond Halley (English, 1656–1742) had correctly calculated that comets followed orbital paths, which made them visible from Earth at regular intervals. Lacaille named the comet posthumously in his honor. This waistcoat panel, with its dramatic sprays of stars, likely refers to Halley’s Comet, which appeared again in 1758–1759.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18310403/

  • Designed by Fabrique de Saint Ruf
  • brush and gouache, watercolor, and graphite on cream laid paper
  • Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt

Nestled between the pocket flap and an outer border of large flower clusters are two vignettes showing a tranquil scene of stone houses and a bridge surrounded by tall trees. This design may have appealed to a gentleman yearning for a quieter life in the country.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445265/

  • silk and metallic embroidery on silk foundation, linen back
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf
  • royal court
  • men's clothing
  • personal adornment
  • theater
  • opera
  • flowering vine

This handsome waistcoat depicts Dido and Aeneas in a scene from Didon, a popular 1783 opera by the composer Niccolò Piccini (Italian, 1728–1800) based on Virgil’s Aeneid. Set in the 9th-century-BCE city of Carthage, the two main characters stand before a low-latticed wall topped with ornamental urns filled with flowers. The setting evokes the late-18th-century interest in classical forms of antiquity as well as less formal garden settings.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18426705/

  • Bequest of Julia Hutchins Wolcott

These buttons illustrate romantic notions of rural living as well as the emerging fascination with dotting the landscape with newly created ruins. Each features a lone figure: one crosses a crude pedestrian bridge with a large basket on his back while the other stands next to the remains of a crumbling wall with an arched window.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445261/

  • silk
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

An idyllic scene shows a young man resting on a mossy rock as he serenades a brightly plumed wild turkey with his flute. Pleasant and peaceful scenes that romanticized the lives of country dwellers abounded at the end of the 18th century and presaged the beginning of the Romantic Era in about 1800.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445121/

  • silk
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

Two classically attired figures straddle a large horn of plenty as they hold impossibly heavy branches of spring blossoms.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445125/

  • silk
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

This charming scene with colorful birds matches a gouache design on paper at the Musée des Tissus in Lyon, France.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445117/

  • silk
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

Shells with and without snails appeared frequently in waistcoat designs. The snail that falls outside the black appliquéd ribbon on this sample is perhaps a practice attempt as it has a slightly paler palette than the one next to the exquisitely executed parrot tulip.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445119/

  • silk
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

A shady wooded path with a balustrade leads to a pair of crumbling towers in this sample for the bottom corner of a waistcoat. The small scene captures the French fascination with English freeform landscape gardening whose designs frequently incorporated recreations of ancient ruins to heighten the emotional and spiritual experience for visitors.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445273/

  • silk
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

Below flowering blossoms and dainty sprigs is a scene of a violent cockfight. The large scale of the animals heightens the aggressive nature of their confrontation. Long popular in France, the 18th-century excavations of Pompeian mosaics showing cockfights also may have influenced this design. On a gentleman’s waistcoat, fighting cocks also could be interpreted as symbols of strength and virility.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18214273/

  • Designed by Mademoiselle Calva
  • brush and gouache, pen and brown ink, graphite on cream laid paper
  • Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt

Pattern 1734 by Saint Ruf shows the bottom corner of a waistcoat that features fantastical birds in pursuit of colorful insects.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445227/

  • silk
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

This uncut waistcoat with lush flowers and vegetation features a tranquil landscape with oxen and cows in pairs, with one standing, the other resting. They bear more than a passing resemblance to a series of engravings by Jean-Baptiste Pillement (French, 1728–1808), an artist and designer whose influential engravings helped spread chinoiserie throughout Europe. His romanticized landscapes influenced textile design and extended to embroidery as well.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445259/

  • silk embroidery on silk foundation
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

This engaging waistcoat panel would have made a wonderful conversation piece. The generous use of chenille thread creates a soft mossy environment for several beetles, a salamander, a snail, and butterflies. Shells acts as vases for lively floral sprigs.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18726613/

  • Bequest of Julia Hutchins Wolcott

In the 1780s, men’s coat buttons became increasingly large and contained subject matter meant to invite curiosity, provoke conversation, and fulfill the need for novelty. In 1787, Baroness Oberkirch commented on this fashion: "The buttons of men’s jackets were no less bizarre. They showed portraits, such as that of the kings of France, the twelve Caesars and sometimes family miniatures."Along with the aforementioned butterfly, other types of insects also became popular motifs on oversized buttons.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18427097/

  • porcelain, brass, glass
  • Bequest of Julia Hutchins Wolcott

INSECTS (right case) In 18th-century France, the use of the butterfly as a decorative motif converged with a growing general knowledge of entomology (study of insects) amongst the educated. Around 1750, Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin (French, 1721–1786), royal embroiderer to King Louis XV, produced a series of ornament prints entitled Essai de papilloneries humaines (Ideas for Scenes with Butterflies Masquerading as Humans) that created a social context for anthropomorphized butterflies. Just a few years later, the French verb "papillonner" was used for the first time to describe the act of flitting from one thing to another. An extension of this is the papillon—a man drawn to every passing fancy. In this context, it is not surprising that the butterfly became a popular motif for waistcoats.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445257/

  • silk embroidery on silk foundation, linen back
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

This waistcoat is teeming with insect life. Small butterflies float between floral sprigs, blue dragonflies adorn the pocket flaps, furry caterpillars crawl along branches, and menacing-looking stag beetles take flight along the bottom edge. In her memoir, author Lady Elizabeth Craven recalled a visit to Lyon in 1785, where she reacted in horror to a new waistcoat design with "great sprawling butterflies." Also notable was the shrug of the salesman who remarked that "novelty was everything."

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18420543/

  • brush and gouache on cream paper; verso: graphite
  • Gift of Catharine Oglesby

This design closely resembles the nearby waistcoat panel that has light brown shells resting on beds of moss. The squiggly brushwork, in shades of green and brown, suggests the use of chenille, a fuzzy thread commonly used to depict moss on waistcoats.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445877/

  • brush and gouache, pen and black ink on oiled translucent paper, joined at center
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

Clearly inspired by the ornament prints of Charles Germain de Saint-Aubin, a large butterfly pulls a chariot with two smaller companions in the rear. Intended for a waistcoat, this whimsical scene might possibly refer to the goddess Psyche, who is frequently depicted as a butterfly pulling a chariot.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18269787/

  • Designed by Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin
  • etching on laid paper
  • Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council

Anthropomorphized butterflies direct a bath chair with a single insect occupant. The term "bath chair" derives from its initial function—transporting invalids to the natural mineral and thermal spring bathhouses. Adopted by the upper classes, Aubin might be mocking its use by those who considered themselves too delicate to walk.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445231/

  • silk
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf

This superb panel is embroidered à la disposition — the design is arranged on the silk in the form of half a waistcoat front, with button covers and corner pieces for the front and back of the lapels. A customer could purchase a waistcoat in this format and have a tailor cut and sew it to their measurements. Perhaps intended to celebrate the hunt, a bucolic scene with flowers and butterflies has two hunting hounds viciously attacking a wild boar.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18212295/

  • Designed by Fabrique de Saint Ruf
  • brush and gouache, pen and brown ink, graphite on cream laid paper
  • Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt

This waistcoat pocket design shows a hunting hound as it flushes ducks from a marsh, possibly a French pointer, known for the regal shape of its head.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338245/

  • silk thread, silk chenille thread, cotton gauze appliqué, flat gold and silver metal thread wound on a silk core, gold and silver metal coils, metal sequins, metal beads on silk ground
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338113/

  • silk, metal-wrapped silk cord, metal sequins, bullion and glass, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338227/

  • silk, metal thread, metal sequins, metal coils, crimped metal wire, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338097/

  • silk, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338211/

  • silk thread, flat gold and silver metal thread wrapped on a silk core, gold and silver metal wire coils, metal sequins, bezeled mirrored glass beads, stamped gold appliqué on silk ground, paper enclosure
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338105/

  • silk, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338139/

  • silk, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338175/

  • silk, glass, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338137/

  • silk, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338109/

  • silk, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338149/

  • silk, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338155/

  • silk
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338123/

  • silk, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338125/

  • silk, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18148367/

  • brush and gouache, watercolor on cream laid paper
  • Gift of Jacob H. Schiff

Jean-Baptiste Pillement was a prolific artist and designer whose inventive landscapes and fanciful floral patterns were widely adapted as designs for textiles and wallpapers. His influence is evident in this design for a floral waistcoat; the heightened expressiveness creates novelty.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18308115/

  • brush and gouache on oiled translucent paper
  • Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council

The exuberant and explosive power of this large-scale floral design perfectly illustrates how designers approached flowers, making them active rather than passive forms of ornamentation. Skilled embroiderers retained the same essence of vitality in their needlework for waistcoats.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18407447/

  • silk
  • Gift of Monsieur Robert de Micheaux
  • flowers
  • irises
  • royal court
  • men's clothing
  • personal adornment
  • caterpillars

This superb waistcoat has a refined and sophisticated color palette. Lively flowers, curling leaves, and six chenille caterpillars dominate the design. Delicate white flowers stippled with black silk thread adorn the upper part of the waistcoat.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18390407/

  • Designed by Georg Melchior Kraus
  • engraving, hand-colored with brush and watercolor on cream paper
  • Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf

The creation of the fashion press accelerated and democratized fashion in the final quarter of the 18th century. While Paris had the largest number of magazines devoted to fashion, individuals in other cities, such as editor Friedrich Justin Bertuch, provided German states with their only fashion magazine of quality. While published only three years apart, there is a stark difference between these plates, showing how dramatically fashion changed after the French Revolution.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18390423/

  • Designed by Georg Melchior Kraus
  • engraving, hand-colored with brush and watercolor on cream paper
  • Gift of Richard C. Greenleaf

The creation of the fashion press accelerated and democratized fashion in the final quarter of the 18th century. While Paris had the largest number of magazines devoted to fashion, individuals in other cities, such as editor Friedrich Justin Bertuch, provided German states with their only fashion magazine of quality. While published only three years apart, there is a stark difference between these plates, showing how dramatically fashion changed after the French Revolution.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18250501/

  • Designed by Christophe Huet
  • etching on laid paper
  • Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18250619/

  • Designed by Christophe Huet
  • engraving on laid paper
  • Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18269757/

  • Designed by Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin
  • etching on laid paper
  • Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council
  • butterflies
  • anthropomorphic
  • insects
  • umbrellas
  • print
  • surreal

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18338193/

  • silk, net, glass, silver wire, paper
  • Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund

These embroidery samples haven been in their original paper enclosures for over 200 years, preserving their brilliant color and pristine condition. The samples likely represent designs for men’s coats although embroidery houses could produce designs on any fabric according to a client’s wishes. While consumers in Paris could visit the marchand-merciers (retailers) to see samples in person, these paper envelopes were highly portable, meaning selling agents could take orders from customers far removed from the city center. Paris was widely recognized as the capital of fashion, and this perception was due mainly to the large volume of high-quality textiles produced in Lyon specifically for the Paris trade. By the 18th century, the textile industry in Lyon employed thousands of men and women. Local government and business leaders recognized Lyon’s special place in the textile design and production—it was the first to introduce seasonal changes in silk design. With the goal of training the next generation of textile designers, in 1756 leaders proposed opening a free school for flower painting under the leadership of a flower specialist with some knowledge of fabric design. It was not until the end of the century that the school produced its finest graduate, the talented designer Jean François Bony (French, 1754–1825), whose influence here is evident.

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18351777/

  • Gift of Norvin Hewitt Green

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18426789/

  • Bequest of Julia Hutchins Wolcott

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18426871/

  • Bequest of Julia Hutchins Wolcott

Embroidered and Embellished

https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18445855/

  • brush and gouache, pen and black ink on cream paper