Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hoyle's Purple

This week I was reading Textiles at Temple Newsam by Helen Bower. I noticed two examples on page 59 of 'first half of the 19th century' double violets with this notation...'examples of Hoyle's purple, the best fast purple dye of this period'. I was not familiar with this particular purple dye...and so I started searching my reference books and journals. I did eventually find several  mentions of  Thomas Hoyle and Sons of Lancashire.

Purple cotton prints of that era were often successfully printed by a weak iron mordant and madder dye bath. Logwood also produced a lilac or purple print but these were usually fugitive. Sometimes a combination of madder and logwood were used. So was Hoyle using a different dye?

According to Susan Greene in an article in Dress, Hoyle was using madder dye for his famous Purples. He was just doing a much better job than other printers of the time....better quality greige goods, careful handing of the dye stuffs and extra steps in the process...sulfuric acid pre-treatment of the ground cloth and a final lime water rinse. By specializing in one dye, one process and one print style ( busy patterned prints) and doing them all very well, Hoyle made a name for himself.

This is probably not a Hoyle's purple. Note 'browning' of the purple print in the upper left pieced square. This change often indicates a printing with madder and logwood combination.

1 comment:

  1. We were just at Temple Newsam looking at some of their textiles, they don't have much in printed cottons or linens but lots of other textiles. Wish they'd allowed us more time. Thanks for this article about the purples, during that same trip to England we spent two and half days in the London Archives looking at the fabrics in the Foundling Hospital's Billet Books and after the blue line checks, purple and white flowered were the most common so this information is just what we needed.