“The textile manufactures and the costumes of the people of India” by John Forbes Watson is a collection of Indian fabric sample prepared during 1866. Specimens of all the important Textile Manufactures of India existing in the stores of the then India has been collected. Twenty sets have been prepared in such a way that each set an exact counterpart of all the others as nearly as possible. The eighteen volumes forming one set, contain 700 specimens, illustrating in a complete and convenient manner. Each sample has been prepared in such a way as to indicate the character of the whole piece from which it was cut, and thus enable the manufacturer to reproduce the article if he wishes to do so.
Thirteen volumes distributed in Great Britain and seven in India so that all volumes will be located in twenty different places. The purpose for distributing in twenty Industrial Museums, illustrating the Textile Manufactures of India, and promoting trade operations between the East and West, in so far as these are concerned.
The Botanical Survey of India has 18 volumes containing 700 samples and 14 volumes (2nd series) containing 1082 sample of Indian Textiles in silk, cotton, muslin and wool, being one of the 20 sets captioned ‘Textiles manufactures and costumes of the People of India’ compiled by John Forbes Watson in 1866 and 1874. The samples of these textile designs are being digitized to make this invaluable information on traditional Indian textile designs easily accessible and to check further deterioration of these valuable national assets.
This website makes all 700 textile samples in the first set of books available to explore digitally for the first time. You can browse through the fabrics by volume or you can search according to categories such as material, object type, pattern, decorative technique or use. There is also an index of technical terms and an advanced search function.