|ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History / publications|
a paper, given at the CIETA meeting of 1989 in Chicago USA, by Anne Wanner-JeanRichard
|page 2 of 5
|The development in Switzerland|
|At first I would like to
remember dates to the linen and cotton trade in
Switzerland. In the eastern part of Switzerland
there was a flourishing linen trade since the 13th
century. St. Gallen maintained close relations with
leading European cities from Spain to Poland, which later
was the basis for the trade with embroideries.
In the 14th century tradesmen from Basle had been buying white and coloured fustians as well as raw cotton for the local weaving industry. Somewhat later cotton wool was spun in Zurich. Mostly the poor population made some money in manufacturing cotton. This changed in the 18th century when a lot of people preferred spinning to fieldwork. The writer Ulrich Braeker tells of cotton spinning in Toggenburg around 1730.
and 1770 a french refugee, Peter Bion,
introduced manufacturing and trade of cotton in St.
Embroidery in the Eastern part of Switzerland:
|embroidery. A document 20
years later, in 1773 names 6000
embroiderers in eastern Switzerland. according to the
historian H. Wartmann thirty to fourty thousand persons
were employed by 1790. This high number seems incredible,
we believe that it includes all workers in the textile
branch in the region.
In a letter Goethe writes of a
very fine embroidery that he bought in a manufacture near
St. Gallen. Interesting enough of this period only very
few pieces got in the museums collections and none of it
is dated precisely. Most probable they were decorated
with chainstitch and drawn work as the example of a cap
shows, which is part of the folk costume. This early
style shows a close resemblance to the European white
embroidery of the 18th century. Similar drawn work is
found in German and particularly in Saxon models.
There are no dated pieces in the first half of 19th centuy. Much chainstitch and drawn work was used at that time. New techniques were satinstitch and lace stitch. The lace patterns used are so near to French work that it is often impossible to tell whether the embroidery was done in Switzerland or in France.
We believe - but I am still looking for a contemporary document - that French Companies sent cloth with preliminary tracings to be embroidered in Switzerland and that Swiss women were soon making the drawings themselves in the French style. And they attained a high level of proficiency.
Linen, Eastern Switzerland, 1577,
showing how to work with the Tambour Frame in the
Marketplace of St. Gallen,
Detail of cloth
used for baptism,
Lithography, after an Oil Painting
Encyclopia of Trades and Industry
of SFr. 500.- with the Portrait of an Appenzell Lady,
Reverse Side of
the SFr. 500.- Bill from 1912,
|Introduction||Swiss embroidery||Exhibitions||Historic Embroideries||20th century||Literature|
|home content||Last revised 15 August, 2005|