The printed textiles industry in England, 1830-1870
Printed textiles produced for the mass-market in the 19th century have had little historical or critical attention. This has been because these products, especially from the period 1830-1870, have lacked interest for the art historian and suffered retrospectively from the reaction against mass-production which was part of the rationale of the Arts and Crafts Movement later in the century. In this thesis the structure and distribution of the industry in these years is analysed, with relevant background material. This analysis is based on a wide reading of published material, official publications, and manuscript sources, some of which has been transcribed for the first time during this research. Attention is paid to the growth of the industry, its geographical location, and the relationship between production in the north and south of England. Use is made of figures from the Census Reports, (which are tabulated), to indicate the spread of textile printing across the country. Main trends are given in investment, expansion or failure of firms, legislation regarding taxation and copyright, and attitudes of manufacturers and commentators. Salient changes in technology are described. Surviving collections of prints have been examined, notably the vast collection of designs registered from 1842, held at the Public Record Office. Details of this archive are given with an analysis of numbers of firms involved and designs registered up to 1870, the first time this has been done. Use is made of this material to challenge a number of entrenched ideas about the effects of mechanisation of the industry, on skills and craftsmanship, on standards of design and public taste, and to re-assess the quality of mass-produced printed textiles both at home and in relation to the French industry. A survey of other research relating to this subject is contained in the Preface to the Bibliography.