The Turkey red industry was predominantly an export industry and the biggest market was India.
See the Galloway Hoard
These unique and rare Viking-age objects lay hidden for a thousand years, but are now saved for the nation thanks to you!
Girls Rip It Up
Girls Rip It Up was a girls music project inspired by Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish Pop
Styles and patterns
There are approximately 40,000 textile samples in the collection, many copied or reproduced in a variety of colour-ways. The designs can be divided into four main categories.
Exhibitions of textiles
Britain had twenty-two ‘international’ exhibitions in the second half of the nineteenth century, starting with the Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace in 1851. There were similar exhibitions in Europe and America and in the British colonial capitals, as well as in the main British provincial cities. These exhibitions provided excellent opportunities for manufacturers to show off their products.
Find out more about the history of wood engraving, illustration and publishing in the 19th century.
Animals and birds
Designs with animals and birds were produced throughout the life of the Turkey red industry. Like the floral patterns, they were often aimed at specific markets. The peacock, for instance, was a popular motif with the Indian market and appears in a variety of guises in the Turkey Red Collection.
For further reading on Tibetan culture and the collection of Tibetan material objects, please refer to the existing literature which has been collated
Flowers and leaves
Floral and foliate patterns are common in the Turkey Red Collection. They range from naturalistic styles to abstract patterns and they were produced for both the domestic and export markets.
Britain in the late nineteenth century experienced a revolution in domestic comfort as rising living standards (the consequence of cheap food imports) generated surplus income for ordinary householders which was spent by many on home furnishings.
Firms that made Turkey red
A number of firms tried to perfect the Turkey red process and capitalise on the demand for these brightly coloured printed cottons, but many of these enterprises were short-lived. Three firms from the Vale of Leven, however, successfully produced and exported Turkey red dyed and printed cottons and became leaders of the industry.
Studying artefacts made and used by those working in the printing industries helps inform what we know about 19th-century printing history. A study of the objects in the W. & R. Chambers collection reveals details of their image making process.