Everyday Life and Animal Magic
These motifs show a real creature or object arranged in a random or structured way or a whole scene or landscape.They can be fun and eye-catching and are sometimes called novelty patterns.
Animals and animal prints (footprints or patterns in fur) are popular imitation motifs that have been used for many centuries. The fur of big cats is most commonly chosen as the patterns are so distinctive. Birds and butterflies are also commonly used in textile design, as they are elegant and delicate as well as being colourful and fun.
‘People’ motifs often appear in scenes rather than on their own.
Rural, idyllic scenes of people and animals were especially popular in the late 18th century, and sporting or hunting scenes have also been used at various times. Other objects include musical instruments and everyday items such as plates, cups, and jewellery. Buildings were used as a motif during the 1930s inspired by industry and the rise of sky-scrapers.
Patterns featuring food have also been created from exotic bowls of fruit to ice-cream cones, which were fashionable in the 1950s and in 2004. Almost anything can be used, it is up to the designer’s imagination!
The novel use of people, animals and things make them a distinctive design which can become tired very quickly.Therefore, they are only in fashion for a limited period of time.
Yellow printed fabric with red and black leopard spot design. The fabric dates to c1800 but the waistcoat was made up in the late 19th century probably for a fancy dress ball
Accession number C1976.31.304
Printed cotton with pastoral and hunting scenes. The fabric used in the skirt is similar to curtain material of the period. Some home made clothing used such fabrics while rationing was still in place or only just over.
Accession number C2003.58