Newsletter No. 3-07 (Mar. 2007)   Page 4 of 5 / Sidan 4 av 5. [back to page 1] Arcive/Arkiv: [1] [2] [3]


This newsletter is written in order to spread experiences within the topic of historic textiles and reconstructions. Our ambition is to amuse you and stimulate interest in the 18th Century. Durán Textiles, who is mainly working with museum collections and Royal Castles, was founded in 2002 by CEO and production manager Laila Durán, with co-worker artist Torkel Henriksson who is doing the artworks and preparing the designs for production. Our production is done mostly in India supervised by Duran Textiles inspectors. 
- The articles are mainly written by Laila Durán but we also have help from colleagues and specialists from several museums and universities.  In the future this newsletter will be distributed four times a year and is free of charge. We hope you will enjoy our stories and offers and help us to spread the letter to friends and colleagues. Contact:

Detta nyhetsbrev skrivs för att sprida erfarenheter inom ämnet rekonstruktioner av historiska textiler och 1700-talet. Ambitionen är att roa och stimulera intresset. Durán Textiles har varit verksamt sedan 2002 och arbetar med projekt för Kungliga Slott och museisamlingar i hela Skandinavien. Laila Durán är VD och projektledare, Torkel Henriksson arbetar med originalen och alla förlagor för tryck och väv. På plats i Indien, där de flesta av tygerna produceras, finns Durán Textiles egna inspektörer.
- Artiklarna skrivs huvudsakligen av Laila Durán men vi får även hjälp av kollegor och specialister från olika muséer och universitet.  Nyhetsbrevet kommer i fortsättningen att komma ut fyra gånger per år och är helt kostnadsfritt. Vi hoppas ni ska uppskatta våra artiklar och erbjudanden och även sprida informationen vidare till Era vänner. Kontakt:



Swedish damask and cambric, fine linen weaving in 18th c. Sweden

Linen has been cultivated, processed and woven i Sweden since prehistory. Mostly coarse and middle fine quality was made for domestic use. A region in northern Sweden, Hälsingland and Ångermanland gave linen fibre of good quality thanks to the good soil and the intense and light summer. From this area tax was paid to the archbishop of Uppsala already in the 12th century.

In the beginning of the 18th century the Swedish government started to pay more interest to the textile production. The textile craft of the country was encouraged by economical support education and legislation. The ruling economical theory was mercantilism, which stated that the production of goods should be done in Sweden. Import should be restricted and export increased, in matter to keep the wealth of the land inside the country. It was an optimistic era and several grandiose projects were planned supported by the state.

The ideal was that if raw material had to be imported, it should be processed in the country. Linen seeds and raw fibre came from Russia, when there was not enough in Sweden. The spinning was organized as home production, where the raw material was distributed to women on the countryside, who spun the yarn at their home and returned linen yarn. It was decided that professional spinning of linen was only to take place in the counties of Hälsingland and Västergötland. Cotton should be spun I Dalecarlia and the rest or the country should make wool yarn. Reforms were make sure that the same ell measure was used in the whole country. New tools were introduced that should facilitate a rational production. The. reel and yarn counting system had to adjusted to the new ell, breaking and scutching was mechanised using force from running water. The common were people mostly opposed to the reforms, and the authorities complained because there was never enough yarn of fine quality produced. A solution to this was the founding of spinning schools in different parts of the country. In these the peasant women would learn the new technology and then spread it to her family and neighbours. To support good spinners a medallion was given by the royal family in 1751 with the text: Till heder för den quinna som fint och snällt kan spinna. (Honour to the woman who finely spins with haste) Another solution was to let women i prison spin for the manufactories. The labour was free of cost, but the results disappointing as the spinners were unwilling to work and only did produce coarse yarn. The spinning houses, as the prison for women came to be called, also had a bad influence on the status of professional spinning, which gor associated with punishment and fallen women.

The ancient castle of Vadstena, a small town in southern Sweden, was found an appropriate place for the weaving of fine linen, cambric (the Swedish word kammarduk, as well as the English term, is derived from the city name of Cambrais in Flandres, a centre of linen production in western Europe). Fine linen yarn is strengthened in humid air as in the old castle’s vaults. 1753 a group of French weavers were recruited to start this production. They arrived together with their families and a catholic priest. The fact that the weavers were catholic was a problem for the authorities. Sweden did not have any freedom of religion, catholic services were forbidden and the Swedish Lutheran priesthood was raging. The weavers were taken into the country secretly, but in the end the king gave them an permission to celebrate mass in one of the halls of the castle. An economically favourable contract was made with the weavers who guaranteed to take Swedish apprentices and teach them their specialized craft. The contract was renewed after three years, and the majority of the weavers soon returned to France. Some of them stayed, however, and the manufactory carried on in spite of great difficulties. In the mid 1760ties an economic crisis ravaged western Europe and all the stately supports were withdrawn. In the 1770-ties the production was directed towards linen damask for table cloth. The pattern show a strong German influence, but what makes this production so interesting is that every tablecloth and napkin had a woven marking: Vadstena Fabrik + a number that indicate which of the looms that had been used. The manufactory was closed 1843 but craftsmen educated at Vadstena continued the Swedish damask weavin tradition. The last link in this unbroken chain is Klässbols linen factory in the county of Värmland in western Sweden.

Written by Martin Ciszuk

Damastduktyg och verksamheten vid Vadstena fabrik 1753-1843, Ann-Sofie Topelius
Hemslöjd, Anna-Maja Nylén



"Honor to the woman who finely
spins with haste"



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