Linda Eaton, Winterthur Museum
Floral stripe on a trellis background. The trellis design has been cycling in and out of fashion for centuries. Winterthur Museum purchase
The late 18th century and early 19th century were the golden age of printed textiles, when advances in the development of chemical dyes, cotton ginning and textile manufacturing were at the forefront of the industrial revolution. Good design, however, was equally important and was highly valued by manufacturers, merchants and clients. The fabric designers generally remained anonymous until textiles designed by well known artists were promoted in the early 20th century.
Linda Eaton will present what she has learned about early textile designers and their backgrounds. She will relate their early textiles to the designers’ inspirations from the popular culture and fashions of their times. Ms Eaton will explore plagiarism and copyright, the challenges of attribution and dating textiles, especially as many of these early patterns have cycled in and out of fashion for more than 200 years.
Linda Eaton attended Vassar College and graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with a bachelor’s degree combining studies in English literature and politics. She continued in the textile conservation program at Hampton Court Palace in conjunction with the Courtauld Institute of Art at London University. She subsequently served as a museum services officer for the Area Museums Service for South Eastern England. Ms Eaton headed north to serve as the senior textile conservator for the Scottish Museums Council and, later, head of textile conservation for the National Museums of Scotland. Beginning in 1991, Linda Eaton joined Winterthur as a textile conservator, senior textile curator and director of collections, as well as an adjunct associate professor at the University of Delaware.
Linda Eaton’s publications include Quilts in a Material World: Selections from the Winterthur Collection *(2007) — the topic of her 2007 presentation to the Forum; *The Diligent Needle: Instrument for Profit, Pleasure, and Ornament *(2014); and *Printed Textiles: British and American Printed Cottons and Linens, 1700–1850 (2014). She contributed “Passage to India: Winterthur’s Hand Painted Indian Export Cottons” to The Magazine Antiques *(January 2002). Her contributions to *Antiques & Fine Arts include “Stamps or Stencils?” (Summer 2013) and “How can you resist? Blue and white printed textiles” (Winter 2010).
Ms Eaton has consulted to provide just the right textile touch to many museums and historic sites. The White House, the United States Capitol, the North Carolina Capitol, Homewood House in Baltimore and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Park houses have benefitted from her familiarity with needle, thread, textile and historical accuracy.