In Napoleonic France and through the novels of Jane Austen in Regency England, we see how wearing fine Indian muslin denoted the consumer’s status, taste and connoisseurship. Such was the popularity of textiles like the brightly-painted chintz, that France and England placed decades-long bans on their import in the 18th century in order to protect their own silk and wool mills. However, the desire for these vibrant textiles meant that despite hefty fines, they were smuggled as contraband and worn in the privacy of the home.
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