Paisley Tapestries

tapestry taking shapePaisley Daily Express 3rd April 1878  (Transcribed  March 2016)

The manufacture of tapestries in Paisley, has during recent years, been prosecuted with much success. It is a new trade for the burgh, which has long been famous for shawls and thread. But a retrospective shows that it is simply a development of the industry, and a change upon new lines similar to changes which have gone before. The lawn and shawl trades for generations were the staple business of Paisley, and that these have given place to large manufacturer in excellent and delicate tapestry work is an undertaking of much significance.

At present the great effort is to reproduce old English styles, which are extremely rich and varied, rather than new designs. There is a demand at present for this kind of work, and some of the Paisley firms are making the effort to meet that demand.

Messers Robert Kerr & Son, of Thread Street, recently prepared tapestries for Marlborough House, one of the seats of the Prince of Wales, as also for the city residence of the Earl of Beaconsfield (Disraeli). The tapestry for His Royal highness is an early English pattern, of subdued colours; it is not gaudy, but substantial, while that for the Prime Minister Disraeli is more showy, having a cream ground, richly ornamented with flowers, and set off with gold.

There is also in course of preparation a tapestry for the Paris Exhibition, to be used for lining a royal pavilion. It is of old English style, and has a salmon coloured ground with apple trees in blossom – a combination having a very fine effect, and which will result in a beautiful production.But the varieties of tapestries are very great – some are brilliant, others less striking; all however are good representations of the styles aimed at.

The commendation of the French critics has been bestowed on the work of Paisley manufacturers, and this is highly creditable, for they are good judges, and have long been skilled in such matters. Although a new department of labour has been cultivated in Paisley for little over three years, excellent progress has been made, and further development may be looked for.

Transcribed & edited by The Urban Historian, 1 March 2016