Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

1.06.2010

The Zucchi Collection


Today's site of interest is The Zucchi Collection, home to 56,000 printing blocks used to produce handprinted fabric over the course of three centuries from 1785 to 1935. Shown at the top left is one of four 19th-century English wood handblocks needed to create the print on the right. Featured categories of blocks encompass geometric, floral, ornamental, pictorial and abstract designs, as well as styles carved for cashmere. Subcategories deal with fabric borders and blocks made for specific cloth pieces such as ties, bandanas, and scarves.

Due to its efforts to preserve these blocks, the Collection received a 1997 Guggenheim award for outstanding cultural project.

[Photo by Henry Wilson as seen in Selvedge, issue 24.]

The teak block above is not part of The Zucchi Collection but belongs to Toy and Joy Singh. (I just love the image.)

11 comments:

Mrs. Blandings said...

56,000 is a LOT of blocks.

Style Court said...

It sure is. Imagine the shelf space needed.

little augury said...

How interesting, it makes me want to get a few of my less than 55,990 out and experiment. Now that is an amzing collection, gorgeous to look at.I am kind of carried away with the idea of getting some more for my book shelves! You find THE most interesting things- fantastic. GT

Style Court said...

Gaye, I think we'd all love to see what you come up with! Please share if you do something.

And for anyone who is searching, Elizabeth James sells blocks here:

http://www.pacificandrose.com/

Kelly Galvin Robson said...

Hey Courtney! I just bought 3 vintage block prints at a flea market (well, actually, it was 3 months ago)... and, this has inspired me to test them out and create my own textile. :)

Style Court said...

Kelly, maybe you'll make the perfect thing for one of your terrific footstools. Looking forward to seeing what you do!

Rebecca@Harmony and Home said...

Hi Courtney,

These blocks are so cool. I remember learning about them in a historic furnishings class I took. Very interesting. Thanks for posting about them!

Style Court said...

Glad you like them Rebecca!

Belle said...

Fascinating site! The ornamental ones are so pretty - it takes about five different blocks to make one print I looked at!

I feel like I am getting an education here that I couldn't have gotten were it not for the internet.
Thank you, Courtney!

Southern Aspirations said...

These blocks are fabulous! Would love to see a framed collection of prints made from vintage blocks.

flyoungstudio said...

Thanks for sharing...I could spend days scouring over those blocks. What a great find!