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47. Suit. England, 1750 – 75. Cochineal-dyed wool with silk and gold. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Isabel Shults Fund, 1986 (1986.30.4a – d). The densely felted cochinealdyed wool of this suit is typical of English woolens, including that used for the uniforms of the British redcoats.

Amsterdam was a major trading hub for the Spanish dye, the Dutch serving both as distributors of cochineal as it was re-exported to Italy and France and as experts in its use. Antwerp also played an important role in the cochineal trade. The historian Francesco Guicciardini, who died in 1540, already mentioned cochineal as one of the articles imported from Spain by Antwerp.22 Flemish dyers became renowned for their early expertise in cochineal dyeing. Pieter Coecke van Aelst, a master painter of tapestry cartoons, is known to have experimented with cochineal dyeing shortly after it became available in the region.23 One of the earliest surviving examples of Flemish tapestry in which American cochineal has been iden­ tified through scientific analysis is a coat of arms woven in Bruges in 1550 by ­Aernout Van Loo for the De Nagera, a family of Basque Spanish origins.24 Cochineal has also been identified in the Metropolitan’s Bridal Chamber of Herse (fig. 46), a tapestry from the workshop of ­Willem de Pannemaker, who worked in Brussels between 1535 and 1578. The English, early consumers of cochineal red dye for their woolen industry, in the seventeenth century relied in part on skilled Dutch dyers to produce the desired red color, and fine English woolen cloth was shipped to the Netherlands to be dyed. By 1625 the Dutch dominated scarlet dyeing, and 50,000 people in the Netherlands were employed in dyeing English

48. Textile fragment with confronted crowned lions. Spain, Nasrid period, 15th century. Lampas-weave silk colored with kermes and other dyes, 10¼ x 14⅝ in. (26 x 37.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Clara Waldeck, in memory of her husband, Hans Waldeck, 1981 (1981.372)

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Profile for The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color  

Elena Phipps The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Winter 2010 Volume LXVII, Number 3 Copyright © 2010 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art,...

Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color  

Elena Phipps The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Winter 2010 Volume LXVII, Number 3 Copyright © 2010 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art,...

Profile for metmuseum