Designer: Associated Artists (1883–1907)

Manufacturer: Manufactured by Cheney Brothers (American, 1838–1955)

Date: 1883–1900

Geography: Made in Connecticut, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Silk, woven and printed

Dimensions: 29 x 25 in. (73.7 x 63.5 cm)

Classification: Textiles

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Boudinot Keith, 1928

Accession Number: 28.70.15


When "shadow silks," such as this one, were first introduced, they received considerable attention in the design press. In one 1885 publication, this pattern was described as follows: "The design is from the water-lily, flower and leaf, so drawn as to produce the effect of a shadow in color … a shadow stirred by the wind, giving a sense of life and motion, with gradations of color instead of light and shade. Nothing that the Associated Artists have done exceeds this in novelty and beauty." By this time, Wheeler had thoroughly rejected the teachings of the English design reformers, who favored highly conventionalized designs. Instead, in her textiles Wheeler reached for illusionistic effects that would mirror those found in the natural world.