Tiffany & Wheeler (New York City, 18791881); probably manufactured by Cheney Brothers (South Manchester, Connecticut, 18381955)
Silk and metallic threads, damask, woven; 24 1/2 x 26 1/4 in. (62.2 x 66.7 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Boudinot Keith, 1928 (28.70.3)
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 drawnas 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, seen here, is by Tiffany or Wheeler. 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.