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Textiles (B) - Encylopedia Of Antiques

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BARCELAND, BARCELONA: A kind of silk handkerchief or neckcloth said to have been made originally at Barcelona, Spain.

BARGELLO-WORK: (Flame-stitch, Hungarian-stitch) Originated in Italy, where it was worked in silks. English work waa carried out in crewels. The figure is usually a series of pointed or flame-like forms.

BAUDEKIN: A rich cloth sometimes mentioned in connection with bed-hangings in the Middle Ages. Now called brocade (q.v.).

BAYEUX TAPESTRY: This is not strictly a tapestry, but a specimen of early medieval embroidery with a border, top and bottom, resembling sampler work, using woolen thread of various colors on a heavy brown linen cloth. It is 214 feet long and 20 inches wide, and is a panorama representing the invasion and conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066. It contains the figures of over 600 men, 200 horses, 40 ships and boats, besides numerous birds, animals and other objects in 72 scenes, with Latin inscriptions giving the subjects and names. Tradition asserts it to be the work of Matilda, wife of William, and the women of her household. It is now preserved in the library at Bayeiuc, episcopal city of Normandy.

BAYS, BAYES, BAIZE: A coarse woolen stuff having a long nap used chiefly for linings, curtains, etc., introduced into England from France in the 16th century. In finer texture used for clothing.


BED-HANGINGS: These consisted of tester, celour, curtain and bed-coverings in the Middle Ages. In the 16th century, when the bed took the form of wainscot. head and tester, supported by two posts, the hangings were limited to curtains and valances. Later, the beds were entirely covered and draped in textiles, until in the Georgian period they became again less pronounced.

BERLIN WOOL WORK: A type of needlework invented in Berlin, Germany, early in the 19th century, the design being blocked and colored on canvas, and done by the crossstitch. The best Berlin-work was for furniture coverings in flower and conventionalized designs. The so-called zephyr wool, a fine dyed worsted, gave the best results, but silk, chenille and beads were also used. This work was very popular here, also in England, following the decline of the sampler in the Victorian period.

BLEACHING: This is the process of whitening textile fibers and fabrics by exposure to the sun and weather, as it was practised before the Christian era, or by treatment with chemicals. In the 18th century a bleaching solution of potash and lye was used and in 1785 the powerful bleaching quality of chlorine was discovered, since which time various other bleaching processes have been discovered.

BOBBIN LACE: The name is derived from the bone bobbin used, in distinction from the needlepoint lace. This form of lace-making was introduced into England in the last half of the 16th century and in the time of Queen Anne had become a prominent industry. It was first made in this country at Ipswich, Massachusetts, in the 18th century by workmen from England. See LACE.

BOMBASINE (also Spelled BOMBAZEEN): A twilled or corded dress material composed of silk and worsted. In black, much used for mourning.


BROADCLOTH: A fine woolen double-width cloth with a smooth-finished surface.

BROCADE: The term, derived from the Spanish broche, meaning the pointed bobbin of the high-warp loom, originally meant the combination of bobbin and shuttle effects. The pattern is woven over a shuttle fabric during the process of weaving, thus bringing the design into relief. Brocades were used for bedhangings and for the upholstery of chairs in England in the 17th and 18th centuries.

BROCATEL: A coarse brocade of linen, chiefly used for tapestry effects in wall hangings.


BUCKRAM: At first a fine linen or cotton fabric; later, stiffened with gum or paste.