Paisley Shawl


By the 1850s, shawls based on Indian designs were highly fashionable in Britain. Paisley, in Scotland, had been one of the first manufacturing centres in Britain to try to reproduce traditional Kashmiri patterns. With new technology in the form of jacquard looms from France enabling them to create and reproduce more elaborate designs, British manufacturers were able to develop their own style, and the ‘Paisley’ patterns that we know today were born.

The design of this shawl (which was probably made in Paisley) shows both French and Indian influences. The elongated pine cones and coloured end pieces are based on Indian patterns, but some of the colours (such as burgundy) would never have been used on an authentic Indian shawl.

By the 1850s, the Kashmiri shawl industry in India was largely controlled by European agents, who brought their own pattern books, with these new British designs, for local weavers to copy.

Victoria & Albert Museum T.111-1977 (CIS) (probably 1851-5)
Copyright © V & A Images


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