Skip the navigation
 

The Macroscopic World

Forest

Fragment Zoomify

Northern Europe was once covered by temperate broadleaf forests that stretched from the United Kingdom to the steppes of Russia. The vast tracts of beech and oak trees in its central and Atlantic regions have sheltered human civilizations for millennia. This biome, or ecosystem, is widely considered to be the birthplace of Western civilization.

About the Object

Object name: Fragment
Place made: France
Date made: c. 1820
Dimensions: 51 x 81 cm
Materials & Techniques: Cotton, woven and copper-plate printed
Credit line: Gift of Dr. Howard Gorman
ID: T88.0561

This fragment of printed cotton is known as toile de Jouy – a style that originated in France during the 18th century, when copper-plate printing was developed. This toile was made for soft furnishings rather than clothing, and illustrates scenes from the melodrama Le Vampire, which opened in Paris in 1820.

Alternative Views

Back

Back

Note: clicking a thumbnail image will open a high-resolution version.

Second Look

Backlit

Backlit

Macro

Macro

Note: clicking a thumbnail image will open a high-resolution version.

Touchpoint View

Animation

You must enable javascript and have Flash Player 9 installed to view this content.

Note: clicking a link will load a movie into a media player.

Image

Temperate Forests

Temperate forests in Europe possess a variety of geological forms such as caves and grottos. Historically, these forms facilitated relative ease of travel, allowing migrants to share their beliefs and inventions while moving from region to region. The vignette that appears in the upper left of this toile fragment is a representation of the famous basalt grotto in Staffa (an island of the Hebrides off Scotland), where the melodrama Le Vampire is set. The vignette in the lower left is set against the Scottish mountain, Schiehallion. Scotland was a popular setting for melodramas in the early 19th century after Sir Walter Scott, a prolific novelist and poet, travelled there.

Heidelberg Forest

Temperate Forests

Image title: Heidelberg Forest
Credit: Image Courtesy of Ulrich Mueller

Note: clicking a thumbnail image will open a high-resolution version.

Artifact Narrative

Toile

Cloths such as this toile were valued and imitated from the moment they appeared – and ever since. The word toile has come to refer both to the type of cloth (cotton, printed with monochromatic, figurative patterns, often with large repeats) and to the design itself. Printing toiles with engraved copper plates began in Jouy, France in 1770 as European textile manufacturers began creating their own versions of the coveted Indian mordant-dyed cottons known as calicoes. The French used available natural dyes, often madder root, which needed mineral salts such as iron to allow it to “bite” (mordre) the cotton fibre; otherwise, the cotton was almost impossible to dye effectively.

Fragment

Fragment

Place made: France
Date made: 1785
Dimensions: 160 x 107 cm
Materials & Techniques: Cotton, linen, woven and copper-plate printed
Credits: Gift of Dr. Howard Gorman
ID: T88.0592

Audio Clip

The Vampire Myth

Listen to vampires scholar Gábor Klaniczay talk about vampires

Credit: Audio Produced by TMC

You must enable javascript and have Flash Player 9 installed to view this content.

Related Image

The Vampire

The Vampire Myth

Image title: The Vampire

Note: clicking a thumbnail image will open a high-resolution version.

Transcript

There were some beliefs related to strange or abnormal dead and actually the first such beliefs were related to sainthood. The saints’ bodies were at some point preserved abnormally, in an abnormal manner. The saint’s bodies, even, there were some saints, miracles, that their nails were growing after death or their hair was growing. And this phenomena all refers to that there is a kind of continuing life force active in the body after death. And, in the negative sense, this same set of beliefs was related to vampires and the vampires were becoming kind of monstrous dead or undead people who are sucking the life fluids of the living, but who, at the same time, continue to be alive in a strange way. Now, there is a religious explanation to the…related to that that this type of monstrous dead is because of a sin committed in life. So, that was one set of symbolism where the vampires were classified as this evil dead or so to say.

Collection Connections

Note: links will open in new browser windows.

Fragment

Fragment

ID*: T88.0573

Fragment

Fragment

ID*: T88.0570

Bed curtain

Bed curtain

ID*: T86.0059