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Swatch Book Entirely of Black French Mourning Silk-Rep Swatches circa 1850


A large folio-sized sample book entirely of woven, large-patterned French (Lyon) black mourning silk-reps. 104 large samples, circa 1850.


4 CC&C Reps Noir.  A folio-sized swatch book, 18 in. X 12 ½ in., four signatures of 6 cardboard folia folded once, or 24 pages per signature, for a total of 96 un-paginated pages. A sample — or swatch book — entirely of woven, large-patterned French (Lyon) black mourning silk reps. 104 large samples, only two to a page, one sample is full-page.

Black Silk Rep Swatch Book Lyon 1835

Each sample was glued onto the page by applying glue only around the periphery of the large fabric sample. Each black patterned silk sample has a numbered label affixed, and the numbers run from 4376 to 4541 in ascending but not consecutive order. Pencil pattern drawings occur occasionally in the blank areas of a page, as do numbers of anticipated patterns, as the patterns were grouped according to pattern subject, and these drawings indicate new patterns within a pattern topic/design were being developed when this volume was in use, circa 1835. Some of the pages are loose, as the cardboard has become brittle. The binding is heavy black canvas over paste board. The binding is slightly warped, the spine cracked but holding. Now housed in a custom-made box by Deborah Evetts.

Swatch Book_006

In M. E. Chevreul’s Théorie des Effets Optiques qui présentent les étoffes de soie ; Paris : Didot Frères, 1846, p. 44, the optical effects of black silk reps are discussed, indicating to what a high art silk manufacture had been elevated in nineteenth century Lyon. This swatch book is believed to be from the legendary silk weaving firm of Claude Charpillon et Companie, according to the Almanach Commercial, ou Indicateur par l’ordre alphabétique des Habitans de la Ville de Lyon et des ses Faubourgs, auquel on a joint les noms des industriels…. Lyon: chez F. Lusy, 1835, they were “marchands fabricans d’étoffes de soie noire” and listed as having premises on the rue Romarin, no. 7, in Lyon. Condition of the fabric samples is fine. (Claude Charpillon  1765-1852.)

Black Silk Rep Swatch Book Lyon 1835