Odds and quads - 31 October 2013

These gorgeous fabric samples are taken from a scrapbook that was once used by students at Bradford Technical College and is now held in the Special Collections of the University of Bradford

October 31, 2013

They originally formed part of a monthly magazine, The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics, which was founded by a German carriage manufacturer, Rudolph Ackermann, in 1809.

Published for 20 years, Ackermann’s Repository included hundreds of hand-coloured prints, making it a major source for early 19th-century fashion and style. It is frequently consulted by those designing costumes and interiors for film and television adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels.

Dyeing was a major industry in 19th-century Bradford, so the college (and its successors, the Bradford Institute of Technology and later the University of Bradford) acquired a significant collection of books on dyeing and textile history, many of them including fabric samples.

Because the samples were tucked away inside books, many retain much of their dramatic original colour, frequently forming a striking contrast with the drab bindings of the publications.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

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