Textiles at Skinner include fine weavings, tapestries, quilts, fabrics, laces, needlework, and vintage clothing from around the world.
Woven, stitched, quilted or printed, textiles clothe us, keep us warm, and soften the décor of a home. From the elaborate details of antique lace to the bold blocks of color in Navajo weavings, textiles may be fancy or plain, colorful or subtle.
In the ancient world, textiles spurred the creation of the Silk Road, a trade route that wound through China, India, Persia, Europe, and Arabia. Highly sought-after Chinese silk threads, fabrics, clothing, and brocades gave the road its name, but traders also carried woven or felted wool textiles, rugs, and carpets.
Making any sort of textile by hand is typically a long and painstaking task. As a result, these items were often among the prized possessions of a household. In the 18th and early 19th centuries in America and Europe, fancy laces, brocades, quilts and rugs showed off wealth and status. Of course, most textiles produced during this time were more utilitarian. 19th century fabric referred to as “homespun” is generally very simple, and was used in its time as upholstery, clothing, bed linens, and towels.
Textiles often brought families and communities closer together. Townspeople would get together to sew album quilts, wives would sew for husbands off at war, and little girls would sew samplers and needlework pictures in school. Often, these pieces express the maker’s individuality, and American textiles that bring the highest prices at auction are often rightly classified as folk art.
To bring high prices, textiles must be in incredible condition. By their very nature, textiles are fragile and vulnerable, and as a result, the pieces that survive in excellent condition are highly desirable.
Skinner handles fine textiles from all regions of the globe, from Chinese silk robes and Kashmir shawls to tapestry panels from the European Renaissance and early American quilts. Contact Skinner today to learn more about consigning fine textiles to auction.