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Printed Fabrics

Printed Fashions: Textiles for Clothing and Home

Open through 2018

Colonial Williamsburg has not previously showcased its superlative collection of printed textiles that range in date from the late 17th century into the 19th century. Printed fabrics were used to make fashionable clothing and to upholster home furnishings. While visually arresting, printed textiles also had economic importance as trade goods and as examples of technological advances. A variety of techniques were used to create innumerable patterns. Fabrics were resist printed, block printed, copperplate printed and roller printed.


Each of these required different manufacturing skills and resulted in a wide range of designs and patterns available to the 18th-century consumer. On view will be over 75 objects including gowns, quilts, men’s waistcoats, curtains and bed furnishings. The printed designs range from floral bouquets to patriotic heroes like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

With their stunning designs and bright colors, the objects in this exhibit will be a feast for the eyes. See it for yourself! Admission to the museums is included with CW admission.
Currently on view in the Gilliland Gallery

Mary Turner Gilliland and Clinton Gilliland through the Turner-Gilliland Family Foundation, Barbara and George Cromwell, and the DeWitt Wallace Exhibitions Reserve.