Labels of Empire: Textile Trademarks

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Title: Labels of Empire: Textile Trademarks

Author: Susan Meller

Publication year: 2023

Publisher: GOFF BOOKS

Pages: 544

ISBN: 1954081251

Book category: Textiles

Notes: It focus on a little known, but highly important, aspect of late 19th and early 20th century British (and Indian) textile industries – the fantastic chromolithographed paper labels that textile manufacturers and their agents pasted on their yard goods and sample cards. Called “shipper’s tickets” in the trade, they were in effect the companies’ brands and most were designed to catch the eyes of shoppers in the bustling Indian markets. The images shown on the labels accurately depict the pantheon of Hindu deities; maharajas; dancing girls; daily Indian life; etc. – all rendered with exquisite detail. Examples of the printed cotton export fabrics, such as Turkey reds; faux tie-dyes; and sari cloth, are also shown.

LABELS of EMPIRE begins with the late 19th-century heyday of British textile manufacturing and closes with Indian independence in 1947. By combining visual narrative, popular culture, magical realism, and history in a way never done before, this book offers an unprecedented look at the British and Indian textile industries in the time of the Raj through their remarkably successful use of attractive paper labels as trademarks.

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