Monday, November 1, 2010

Woven Souvenirs from the Milan World's Fair 1906

Today we stretch the relevancy of this post to Italian Needlework. Really I can say there is no needlework involved but we can squeeze under the umbrella of Italian textiles. It's my blog so I guess I can justify anything! The souvenir above features the portraits of the King and Queen of Italy. Click on the photos of a closer look.

I have been very kindly given photos and the permission to post them of souvenir cards from the 1906 Milan World's Fair which are woven silk pictures.

Here is what the back of the souvenir above looks like:

These souvenirs were woven on Jacquard looms, at the time a relatively recent invention which permitted intricately woven patterns. We took a look at some hand-operated Jacquard looms in Perugia in this post, however the looms which wove these souvenirs were almost certainly mechanized. I imagine that as the 1906 Milan World's Fair saw some 7,500,000 visitors the required number of souvenirs would have taxed even the most proficient hand-weavers!

These silk woven souvenirs are all made by L. Paroli & C. di Milano. I have been unsuccessful in finding out anything on this company.

I am told that even though there may have been a huge quantity of these souvenirs made, they are quite rare to find today, a mere century later. Silk woven souvenirs in good shape are even more difficult to find.

Enormous thanks to Ampelio of the NING group MI1906 for the photos and historical information!


  1. The figure hovering over the prow is similar to the figure, seen more upright, on the 1906 poster celebrating the opening of the Sempione pass under the mountains. The poster is lovely, so you and your readers might enjoy seeing it, even if it's not related to needlework (or even weaving):
    Thanks, as usual, for your great blog.
    Ars acupicturae stellae - Star's Needlepoint Art

  2. Thank you for a great link!
    I will be investigating it for any sign of needlework as the Liberty era or Art Nouveau period touched embroideries and laces in Italy too!