Posselt's Textile Journal 4, 1914
(Continued from March issue)
According to Bischoff, the first regulations for dyers were issued in Venice in 1429 under the name of "Mariegola dell 'arte tintori." It is stated that an edition of these regulations appeared also in 1510.
Gioanuentura Rosetti, the Director of the Arsenal in Venice, found these regulations very incomplete. In order to obtain further knowledge as regards the art of dyeing, he traveled in Italy and in other countries, and ultimately published his experiences in 1540, under the title: "Plicthos de Larte de tentori the insegna tenger panitelle banbasi et sede si perlarthe magiore come per la comune."
Plictho was an assumed name, and the title translated means: "Plictho's Art of Dyeing, which teaches how to dye cloth, linen, cotton and silk in durable, as well as false, or common colors."
The book contains two pictures, one of a cloth dyer, the other of a yarn dyer (Figs. 1 and 2), which are of interest because they are the earliest prints relating to dyeing to be found.
Below Fig. 1 the dyeing of scarlet on woolen cloth with cochineal, alum, and Brazil wood was described according to the "Great Art," while general instructions for the scouring and dyeing of silk yarn, as practiced by "the great Masters of Florence and other towns of Italy" was given below Fig. 2.
Rosetti does not mention Indigo in his book, and we must, therefore, assume that it was not used in dyeing in his time in Italy. Another edition of Rosetti's work was published in 1611.
The first book printed in black letter in the English language which deals with the subject of dyeing, and which is not mentioned by Bischoff, is "A profitable boke declaring dyuers approued remedies, to take out spottes and staines, in Silkes, Veluets, Limmen and Woollen clothes. With diuers colours how to die Veluets and Silkes, Linnen and Woollen, Fustian and Threade. Also to dresse Leather and to colour Felles, &c. ...with a perfite table hervnto, to fynde all thinges readye, not the like reucalde in English heretofore. Taken out of Dutche and englished by L. M. Imprinted at London by Thomas Purfoote and William Pounsanbie, 1583." The methods of dyeing given in this book are highly interesting.
A licence was given to Sir Arthur Aston in 1604 (August 23rd) for 41 years, to use and sell certain woods used in dyeing, while in 1607, September 21st, duties were imposed on Blockwood, Logwood, and other woods used for the dyeing of cloths.
That foreign dyers were still largely employed in England, is shown by a "Grant to ... Simon Russel and Peter Carpinter, dyers of Flanders, of denization," given on January 20th, 1608.
The prohibition of the importation of Logwood made it necessary in 1608 ( June 13th) to issue a warrant to pay to the Earl of Dunbar £4,000 in compensation of the imposition laid upon Logwood, Brazil wood, etc., which was formerly granted him in lieu of a patent for the sole manufacture of Logwood revoked by Parliament.
That silk must have been dyed in large quantities in England in the 17th century is shown in a record dated January 22nd, 1608, Serjants' Inn. "According to his Majesty's pleasure we have considered the best remedy of the great abuse in dyeing black silks ... no person shall dye, within England or Wales, any raw silk in skeins into the color called coal black or London heavy-weight black, but into that called light-weight black ; nor shall augment, by dyeing or otherwise the weight of any kind of raw silk above the quantity of 6 oz. per lb., avoirdupois or organzine silk and 8 oz. thrown silk."
In 1608, October 21st, we find that a fixing material for Logwood had been invented, because it is stated that "the sole venting and making of the fixing stuff, and the dyeing and finishing of true wearing colors in logwood, non obstante any law ..." The Lord Mayor of London called all the dyers together and examined them when "they disclaimed the use of logwood, yet the contrary was proved." They stated that "logwood bettered the dyeing."
In this document regulations are given for dyeing, and we find further that somebody asks for "Liberty for the sole making and finding of the fixing stuff to such dyers as dye with logwood ... upon grounds of woad or madder or both"; the payments to him are then stated. He prays that if this is not granted the dyers will soon make the stuff themselves for men of art, after sometime using the said stuff, will find the way of making it." It is further stated that "they enter into their books fustic instead of logwood, and more is so entered than there is in the Customs' book in a year," and "if dyers desisted the use of logwood . . . as their falsehoods will be discovered, it would advantage his Majesty much more in his customs, by the importation of madder, woad cochineal, etc."
(To be continued)