Friday, September 28, 2007

Mrs. Farnham's Catalogue of Stamping Patterns

Here is another great resource for Victorian embroidery motifs. Deborah Harding (author of Red and White: American Redwork Quilts and Patterns) and the Michigan Museum has made this ca. 1886 catalog available on cd or b/w copy book. The official title of this catalogue is:

Catalogue of Stamping Patterns Embracing All of the Latest and Choicest Designs Used in Connection with the Illustrated Catalogue “Home Beautiful,” A Treatise of Decorative Art Needlework and Embroidery Materials

by Mrs. T.G. Farnham

Quite a mouthful. You can order the cd via their web site at:

This catalog has hundreds of motifs. I haven't done a full check on them, but they are very similar to the Briggs, Ingalls and Bentley catalogs. The catalog is for perforated stamping patterns (so are Ingalls and Bentley's). Only the Briggs are hot-iron transfer patterns.

I have an original copy of Mrs. Farnham's price list - which is a pre-cursor to the illustrated catalog. It is mostly just a listing of the motifs, along with the price. There are only a few illustrations in this booklet.

Home Beautiful. A Descriptive Catalogue of Art Needle Work; with Illustrated Designs and Prices, by Mrs. T.G. Farnham, New York, c. 1884

Briggs & Company

I have had the good fortune in getting two wonderful resources. First, I got the Album of Transfer Patterns (c. 1903) published by the Wm. Briggs & Company.

Album Briggs Transfer Papers - 4 books bound as 1
Floral (224 pages); Artistic Conventional (borders, sprays, corners, etc., 72 pages); Scallops (edgings, flannel designs, 36 pages); and Initials & Monograms (18 pages)

This is the catalog that these 2 Dover books are from:
Designs and Patterns for Embroiderers and Craftspeople (ISBN: 0486230309) William Briggs & Co.; Editor-Marion Nichols and 400 Floral Motifs for Designers, Needleworkers and Craftspeople (Dover Pictorial Archive Series) (ISBN: 0486251624) Briggs & Co.

I went through some of the pages of the Dover books and found the patterns in the Album Briggs Transfer Papers. It was a fun afternoon for me.

The second book I found is a leather and cloth bound salesman sample book called "Briggs and Compy's Patent Book". It has 130 pages of the actual wax transfer patterns - transferred to the pages of the book. Hand written notations indicate the pattern number and other notes, such as 'Kate Greenaway Children' or 'splashers'.

The book dates prior to 1895, when the company became Wm. Briggs & Company. What is neat about this book, is that the motifs are 'actual size' whereas the catalogues have smaller images.

The patterns range in color from a blue-black, black and red. Note: The tissue transfer patterns I have (I Weighed Rose-Mary, etc.) were done in a red-brown wax transfer color.