New Book | Mr Kilburn’s Calicos

Posted in books, journal articles by Editor on September 21, 2014

From WoI:

Ros Byam Shaw, “Mr Kilburn’s Calicos,” The World of Interiors (October 2014): 112–18.

A scuffed little album discovered by Gabriel Sempill among her late mother’s possessions contains exquisite watercolour patterns by the esteemed 18th-century textile designer William Kilburn. Now, a facsimile of this rare find, complete with a variety of juvenilia added by a later hand, plus modern takes on Kilburn’s repeats, is published.


Detailed pattern units from William Kilburn’s
album, as a composite image.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From Fleece Press:

Gabriel Sempill and Simon Lawrence, Mr Kilburn’s Calicos: William Kilburn’s Fabric Printing Patterns from the Year 1800 (London: Fleece Press, 2014), ISBN: 978-0992741051, £175.

Printed, bound and published at breakneck speed to coincide with The World of Interiors’ extensive feature on this book (October 2014 issue, with five pages reproduced), this is the full reproduction of a very important pocket book once owned by the great fabric designer and printer, William Kilburn (1745–1818). Hitherto known only for his highly elaborate and sumptuous chintz designs which are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, this pocket book includes 62 basic units for patterns which could be built up and repeated on a larger scale for dress material. It is a most exciting find, and Kilburn included notes of variant colourways and orders; the notebook’s subsequent use by a great grandson as a child’s scrapbook ensured its survival.

The book comprises a letterpress introduction, with the entire notebook being reproduced in the second half. There is a separate booklet of 16 patterns printed full-page, made up from Kilburn’s original units by Sholto Drumlanrig, and both the book and booklet are housed in a solander box. There are three variant bindings of quarter cloth with one of three different Kilburn patterned papers over boards.

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