Thistle textile

Designed by Tiffany & Wheeler American
Probably manufactured by Cheney Brothers American

Not on view

The firm Tiffany & Wheeler was hired in 1880 to design several interiors of the luxury steam yacht Namouna, owned by newspaper publisher James Gordon Bennett Jr. These included the ship’s main “saloon,” or drawing room. Across the room’s portholes could be drawn—as described in a contemporary magazine article—“exquisite hangings, in which the interwoven thistle is wrought in silk and gold.” It is difficult to know whether the design of the Namouna’s damask is by Louis C. Tiffany (1848-1933) or Candace Wheeler (1827-1923). The highly regularized pattern relates to molded plaster wall paneling with thistle decorations that Tiffany designed for the saloon, while the unexpected combination of gold metallic thread and gray-blue silk points to Wheeler’s interest in color blending and effects of light in textile design.

Thistle textile, Designed by Tiffany & Wheeler (1879–1881), Silk and metal threads, damask, woven, American

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