Printed Fabric Fashions go on Show

14 April 2010

The development of fabric printing since the 19th century will be revealed in a new exhibition from Saturday 17 April at Provost Skene's House, Guestrow, between Broad Street and Flourmill Lane Aberdeen.

Printed Fabric Fashions shows how the technique of printing provides an inexpensive method of transforming plain fabrics. This exhibition demonstrates the versatile nature of printed textiles and shows how they are used in costume design.

The development of the cotton spinning and weaving industry in Lancashire in the 19th century resulted in the production of cheap, washable fabric, making it possible for large sections of society to wear fashionable clothes. In 1783 a method of printing from engraved metal rollers was patented by a Scotsman, Thomas Bell. This allowed much faster printing of cotton dress fabrics with patterns based on stripes.

In the early 20th century the method of printing with screens was developed commercially, but did not become popular for dress fabrics until the 1930s. Screen printing gives the designer more freedom to create complex patterns. Floral prints were popular for both day and evening wear in the 1930s and the floral summer dress was typical of 1950s fashion. In the 1970s Laura Ashley was inspired by Victorian printed patterns, as shown in the exhibition.

Aberdeen City Council's Art Gallery & Museums lead curator (Collections Access) Alison Fraser said: 'Visitors should enjoy the diverse range of costume, which illustrates the development of fabric printing from Victorian times to the late 20th century."

The exhibition is on until Saturday 12 June.