Colouring Textiles: A History of Natural Dyestuffs in Industrial Europe by Agustí Nieto-Galan

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Colouring Textiles: A History of Natural Dyestuffs in Industrial Europe
by Agustí Nieto-Galan
Colouring Textiles: A History of Natural Dyestuffs in Industrial Europe

TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE IX
INTRODUCTION: THE "CULTURES" OF NATURAL DYESTUFFS xiii
CHAPTER 1: NATURAL DYESTUFFS AND THE KINGDOMS OF NATURE
1. Classifying plants, colours and chemicals: Taxonomies and the art of dyeing 1
2. Natural history, agriculture and the natural dyestuffs 9
3. Colonial vs. indigenous 13
3.1. Indigo vs. woad and Prussian blue 17
3. 2. Cochineal vs. madder 19
3. 3. Quercitron vs. weld, and other colonial dyestuffs 21
4. Appendix: Natural dyestuffs in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries 23
CHAPTER 2: SITES OF DYEING AND PRINTING TEXTILES:
FROM THE WORKSHOP TO THE FACTORY SYSTEM 43
1. Early workshops and Manufactures Royales: The case of the Go be !ins 43
2. Natural dyestuffs and industrial culture: the raise of calico printing 50
2.1. The age of mechanization 55
2.2. Large-scale bleaching 65
CHAPTER 3: THE "SCIENCE" OF NATURAL DYESTUFFS
IN THE LABORATORY 85
I. Scientific perceptions of natural dyestuffs 85
2. The theories of dyeing and bleaching 90
3. Natural dyestuffs in the laboratory 94
3.1. Tests and colouring matters 94
3. 2. Oft-repeated experiments, instruments and photography I 00
4. Dye chemistry and textile chemistry
CHAPTER 4: CIRCULATING SKILLS IN A EUROPEAN NETWORK:
THE "REPUBLIC OF CHEMIST-DYERS" 123
1. Technological journeys and the making of an international network of experts 124
2. The circulation of manuscripts and printed texts 130
3. Organizing dyeing and printing: From informal gatherings to industrial exhibitions 136
CHAPTER 5: ARTISANS AND ARTISTS IN DYEING AND PRINTING 153
1. Technology, design, and the "art" of dyeing and printing 153
2. James Thomson's "aesthetic luddism" and the copyright of designs 158
3. The public arena of natural dyestuffs and their symbolic significance 161
4. Local taste, national styles and international markets 164
5. Artistic painting, dyeing and printing 168
CHAPTER 6: TOWARDS THE "ARTIFICIAL":
A LONG-STANDING TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE 181
1. Natural dyestuffs and technological change 181
2. The standard account: the scientific triumph of artificiality 182
3. Rethinking the standard account (I): before and after 1856 186
4. Rethinking the standard account (II): resistance and coexistence in the artificial era 190
5. The end of natural dyestuffs 196
BIBLIOGRAPHY 205
1. Archives and libraries 205
2. Primary source journals and newspapers 206
3. Primary sources 207
4. Secondary sources 217
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND TABLES 229
INDEX 231

PREFACE
Ten years ago, when I began my PhD. at the Faculty of History and Geography at the Universitat de Barcelona, I came across natural dyestuffs for the first time. My research was based on the historical reconstruction of a school of chemistry founded in Barcelona in 1805 and, after checking the primary sources available, I was astonished to see that more than the half of its documentary evidence covered themes to do with experiments and techniques on natural dyestuffs. At that time, I knew nothing about the subject, but I soon realized that this was a relatively unknown chapter of the history of chemistry, the history of technology and the history of industrialization as a whole.

In 1990, during my first visit to Paris, I met Robert Fox. He had just presented a paper at the Conservatoire Nationale des Arts et Metiers (CNAM), and kindly listened to my first naive questions on a mysterious matter called teintures naturelles. This was the beginning of a wonderful period, in which, thanks to his unceasing encouragement, I was able to learn more about natural dyestuffs, and to think seriously of the possibility of devoting a good part of my education as a historian of science and technology to this puzzling subject. This book is the result of a significant part of that long itinerary, and the best way, I think, to express my profound gratitude to Robert.

To reach this point, I have also benefited from the generous help of numerous institutions and individuals. My PhD. supervisor, Santiago Riera, and a fellowship from the Catalan Government (Generalitat de Catalunya) allowed me to submit my thesis in 1994. The Spanish Ministerio de Educaci6n offered me a postdoctoral fellowship to work at the Modem History Faculty in Oxford. After this excellent experience I was granted a research post at the Centre de recherche en histoire des sciences et des techniques, at the Cite des sciences et de l'industrie , in Paris, under the direction of Dominique Pestre. Both positions were vital in enabling me to develop a cross cultural international approach to the art of dyeing and printing textiles, and in improving my intellectual skills as a historian of technology. One of the most fruitful results of that period is the collection Robert Fox, Agusti NietoGalan (eds.) Natural Dyestuffs and Industrial Culture in Europe, 1750-1880.

Science History Publications. Canton 1999, which was recently published under the auspices of the European Science Foundation programme on "The Evolution of Chemistry in Europe, 1789-1939". In addition, my stay as Gastwissenschaftler at the For-schungsinstitut at the Deutsches Museum in Munich allowed me access to the German contributions to the history of natural dyestuffs. Finally, thanks to Anna Estany's generosity, I have benefited from a research position at the Departament de Filosofia at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and at the Centre d'Estudis d'Historia de les Ciencies (CEHIC) since 1996. I have devoted much of my time to writing this book and to finishing my research project in natural dyestuffs.

It would be impossible to thank all the staff in libraries and archives (cited in the final bibliography of this book) who have helped me over these years. The same is true of the scholars, colleagues and friends I have met during my research. In my time as a graduate student, Ramon Gago, Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Ignasi Terradas, Alex Sanchez, Jordi Nadal, Antoni Roca Rosell, among others, were extremely supportive. In my postdoctoral years, I would also like to thank all my colleagues who worked on the collection Natural dyestuffs and industrial culture, in particular the personal affection that I received from Anne-Claire Dere, Gerard Emptoz, and Angelique Kinini. In Manchester, I had the opportunity to discuss my research with Jeff Hughes, Donald Cardwell, Richard Hills, and Jordan Goodman. In Oxford, I am especially indebted to Jim Bennet and Anthony Simcock for their help during my work at the Museum of the History of Science. During my stay at the CRHST in Paris, I was very lucky to meet Antonio Garcia-Belmar, Jose Ramon Bertomeu, Sybilla Nikolow, Irina and Dimitri Gouzevitch, and Thierry Lalande. In Munich my research owed a great deal to Helmut Trischler, Elizabeth Vaupel and Matthias Dorries. And I have also benefited from invitations to give papers on the subject in Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, Nantes, Oxford, Manchester, L'Aquila, London, Liege, Delphi, Uppsala, Louvain-la-Neuve, and Norberg. Back in Barcelona, I received great support from my colleagues and friends at the Societat Catalana d'Historia de Ia Ciencia i de Ia Tecnica. They kindly invited me to give a plenary lecture, in 1996, which allowed me to begin to sketch the outlines of this book.

Thanks to the generosity of various editors, I have reproduced some parts of papers that I have published elsewhere on the history of natural dyestuffs. Michael Maudsley's patient stylistic corrections have helped to produce a readable English text. I am also indebted to Guillermo Lusa, who allowed me to reproduce a good part of the illustrations of this book at the Fans Historic de Ciencia i Tecnologia (FHCT) of the Escola Tecnica Superior d'Enginyeria Industrial de Barcelona (ETSEIB), and Pep Herrero for his photography.

My wife, Montserrat, has offered me unfailing encouragement throughout. Without her I would not have been able to finish this book. She deserves all my love and a public expression of my indebtedness.


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