1820s

2. Stipple engraved waistcoatings or shirtings, around 1822
These patterns are taken from a pair of small warehousing volumes that match those in a more comprehensive Swaisland pattern book (Baker Archive Inventory 43) of engraved patterns.

During the 1820s, the process of stipple engraving began to compete with pinned blocks. Pinning consisted of the painstaking process of implanting brass wires in the surface of the printing block; the ability of the wire to stand up to wear limited the smallness of the dots produced. However, with the stipple engraving technique, it was possible to produce finer dots and to execute graduated shading more easily. A stippling machine, perfected around this time allowed the engraver to work more quickly with greater control of the depth of each hole drilled into the copper printing plate or roller. Benjamin Hargreave’s describes the patterns for the spring season of 1822 printed in single colours “in trails and stripes with stippled grounds, well calculated to exhibit the merit of the engraving, and ensure a large sale” (Messrs. Hargreaves’ Calico Print Works at Accrington. E. Bowker: 1882, p.9). The paper leaves of the Swaisland book are watermarked 1821, so Swaisland’s designs were probably not much, if any, in advance of his rivals in Lancashire. But they would have been printed on better cloth for a wealthier clientele.

3-4. Accounts of 1823 from a London warehouseman’s daybook
The accounts seen here are probably those of Moore, Johnstone and Mason, a Wandsworth firm that operated from 1806 to 1830. Swaisland purchased the company’s copperplates and books, thus preserving the design and business records. These pages record the purchases of a number of London warehousemen: Cole, Andrews, Comins, Vowler, Oppenheimer, Bassett, and Cooper. Cotton muslin (abbreviated as ‘Mus’) and cambric (abbreviated as ‘Cam’) form the main ground fabrics; these are fine cottons, the cambric being closely woven, but the muslin a more open weave. The column on the left gives the number of pieces ordered, followed by the name of the fabric and the colours, then the number of yards in a piece, the price per yard, and the total price. There are two columns for the total price, possibly indicating payment in cash or credit. Occasionally a piece that has been returned as damaged is recorded, with an indication in red ink that these were exchanged on the same day.

5. Moore, Johnstone & Mason plate prints, around 1829
Swaisland purchased Moore, Johnstone and Mason’s copperplates, and continued to print a number of them in the 1830s. This page of designs from a pattern book of the Wandsworth calico printers in their final year of operation shows the fine engraved work and cutting-edge design that probably drew Swaisland to take over their stock. The engraved flat plates used for these patterns gave the ultimate in high quality- a clear print from the finest line. But the technique was not able to compete with the much greater productivity, although lesser quality, of the roller printing machine. Eventually, flat plate printing was used only for fine silk handkerchiefs.
The pattern book gives the pattern number and the initials of any firm for which the pattern has been reserved (known at the time as an “engaged” pattern, as opposed to an “open” pattern). In this case J. & C. Rogers’s 14th pattern, J. & J. Lawrence’s 65th to 67th patterns, and Deverell Home & Co.’s 8th pattern are shown.
Deverell Home & Co. was formed in March 1829 by Robert Deverell and John Home after a previous partner left the business, carried on in Old Change, London.

 “Dr. Philip A. Sykas is acknowledged as the copyright owner of the captions included here. As such any re-use of material which includes direct quotation or extensive paraphrasing should name Dr. Sykas as the author.”