What? I could actually use novel research someplace other than in fiction?
Yesterday I spent a couple of hours at the Art Institute because, well, because it’s got lots of pretty stuff in it. I’ve been going through slowly, picking galleries that I wouldn’t gravitate to if I were in town for a day. This led me downstairs to the Textiles exhibit where some of the random information I picked up while researching came in strangely handy.
In Glamour in Glass, I reference jacquard looms.
“I have a colleague, M. Chastain, whom I have not seen for years. We were both apprentices with Herr Scholes, but the war has kept us apart since then. With Napoleon abdicated, I will admit that I had entertained thoughts of visiting him. From our correspondence, he is doing interesting work with double- weaving glamours into something he is calling a jacquard.”
“After the new looms? Has he found a way to mechanize glamour then?” Jane sat up on her elbow so she could see his face better. It would be a tremendous breakthrough if he had found a way to record glamour as M. Jacquard had used cards to record the patterns for weaving on looms.
“No. He merely had inspriartion for the technique after seeing a demonstration of M. Jacquard’s looms in Paris. From what he describes it is akin to a damask weave and creates variations based on one’s prospect.”
Originally, I had M. Chastain naming the technique after the cloth, but he didn’t invent the loom until 1805. In 1815, it still wasn’t used to refer to the cloth so I talked about the looms instead, which wound up being better thematically for the book as it turns out.
It also turns out that my time down the research rabbit hole returned to surprise me when I was in the textile exhibit. They had a gorgeous Kashmir style shawl from 1830 woven on a jacquard loom. The note next to the textile said the loom was invented in 1825.
I read it twice, to see if I had misinterpreted it but no, “invented in 1825.” So I asked the guard on duty what they did if there was a possible typo. She said she’d let the curator know.
I thanked her, explained what I thought was wrong, and moved on. The next item had a card that said that the jacquard loom was invented in 1805. I think I actually said, “Ha!” aloud because I was so pleased that I had remembered that correctly.
Actually, I know I laughed aloud, because the guard asked me what was funny. When I told her, she went away and a moment later came back with one of the curators. We had a lovely chat and yes, it was a typo. So then we commiserated about typos and how something always slipped through.
I told her about the first line of Glamour in Glass. It was, all in all, a lovely and surprising day.
If you can, swing down to the bottom floor of the Art Institute and check out the textiles there. They are only on exhibit through April and then have to be put away for five years to preserve them. It’s worth seeing.