Transactions of the Society of Arts. February 13th, 1850. Mr. George Wallis read a paper on the present condition of art as applied to calico printing.

The London Journal of Arts, Sciences, and Manufactures, and Repertory of Patent Inventions.

Conducted by Mr. W. Newton, of the Office for Patents, Chancery Lane. (Assisted by several Scientific Gentlemen.)

VOL. XXXVI. (Conjoined Series.)

London: Published by W. Newton, at the office for patents, 66, Chancerylane, and Manchester; t. and W. Piper, Paternoster Row; Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., Stationers' Court; J. McCombe, Buchanan St., Glasgow; and Galinani's Library, Rue Vivienne,

Paris. 1850

Mr. Wallis commenced by referring to the paper read by him to the society last session, in 'which he endeayoured to trace out the past progress and present condition of calico printing, so far as related to the mechanical and chemical departments; he then proceeded to give a general outline of the subject, and to call at tention to a scries of illustrative specimens, shewing the limits to which design is subject when applied to particular fabrics.

The mechanical means generally employed in printing calicoes are blocks and cylinders, and the colors are "madders" and " steams." Of the class of fabrics on which steams are usually employed, mousseline-de-laine was mentioned as a type; while the prints usually known as Hoyle's are distinct examples of madders. The madder dyes, properly executed, are essentially fast, and the tints are only to be reduced by repeated boilings and washings,—a course frequently taken by the printer to get his color down to the desired hue. The fast colors are the following: red, ranging in tint from dark crimson to light pink; purple, ranging from the darkest tint to the lightest shade -, chocolate; brown; and black. Besides these madder colors, there is a fast blue, produced from indigo and catechu brown: thus, with the exception of yellow, and consequently green of a brilliant tint, the range of fast colors is complete. In steams there is a wider range of colors (including green, yellow, orange, &c.), with less permanence of tint; but in de-laines these may be considered as fast, —wool having a much greater affinity for coloring matter than cotton.

The author next proceeded to call attention to the nature of the designs suitable for madders, and first referred to mill-work, in which each roller is necessarily limited in size from two-and-a-half to four inches in circumference: this gives the size of the repeat of the pattern. The class of designs best suited to this process of manufacture is that of stripes, as they are easily engraved and readily printed: striped patterns should be varied not so much in form as in disposing the groups upon them.

The artistic effect of the details is only limited by the number of cylinders; but the author is of opinion that the most agreeable effects can be produced with two or three tints; as true artistic feeling is quite consonant with simplicity in materials.

Mr. Wallis next referred to the extent to which the effect of relief might be successfully carried. The best art is that in which the art is most concealed: on seeing a lady's dress, or a furniture print, the sentiment of the whole ought to strike us, without any portion being so obtrusive as to cause special enquiry as to what it is or how it is produced. Of the effects producible in madders, the monochrome is the most suitable. A flat relief is very effective for half-mourning. All the various processes of en graving are applicable for the production of different effects: where the repeat is small, mill-work is used; and where it is large, the cylinder is engraved all over by hand, and a "cover" added by the etching process.

Steam colors constitute the great mass of productions in calico printing, particularly for the foreign trade. The range of these colors, capable of easy introduction, offers a great temptation to the designer to supply his want of artistic effect by showy vul garity; and thus, while madders are usually confined to two or three cylinder machines, steams occupy as many as four, five, six, and in some instances seven cylinders.

The author then cautioned designers against crowding their patterns for the sake of introducing several colors; and he proved, by examples, that freedom of treatment is compatible with perfect accuracy of execution. He further urged the pro priety of more closely studying nature, both for harmony of colors and for elegance of form: the former shewn so variously in the skins of animals, in shells, flowers, leaves, and insects; and the latter in the growth, interlacing stems, &c., of grasses and other vegetables—amongst which the ability of the artist in selection and combination will find a wide field for exercise. Mr. Wallis next glanced at what he termed "de-laine" effects, including mousselines-de-laine, muslins, and bareges,—all of which he classed under the general head of calico printing. The best specimens are chiefly block-work, which affords a wider range of pattern and a larger number of colors than can be got in mill-work; but five may be said to be about the average. Attempts have been made to combine block with cylinder work, but the effect is rarely satisfactory; and, on account of the mechanical difficulty of the combination and the cost of produc tion, it may now be said to be abandoned.

The author concluded his paper by calling attention to the various specimens and designs upon the walls, and to the new application of printed calicoes to panelling and internal decoration.

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