|Esther by John Everett Millais|
"The painting depicts Esther, the Jewish wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus, as she prepares to enter the presence of her husband. As she is uninvited, she risks death, but does so to inform him of a plot against the Jews.
Millais borrowed the Yellow Jacket, a gown given to General Gordon by the Chinese emperor after his defeat of the Taiping rebellion. In order to create a culturally unspecific effect, he turned it inside out, producing the abstract patterns visible in the painting."
Millais, J.G.,The Life and Letters of John Everett Millais
|photo Gésbi-St Tyl|
Esther's gown is brocaded, which accounts for the great expanse of yellow ground. Tiny shuttles have been worked over certain zones on the loom to form the decoration. Like embroidery, the threads appear only where there is pattern, but as this is a brocade, they are woven in.
The lampas fabrics in my photo have supplementary decorative wefts that are mostly floating on the reverse side of the cloth where they are not worked into the pattern of flowers on the front - the reason for an entire hairy cushion of silk across the back of the fabric.
This is possible when the fabric will not have heavy use, such as with certain curtains or in a museum or other historic reconstruction. Otherwise, a lampas weave uses a binding warp which extends from selvedge to selvedge to better anchor the weft threads to the back. If the fabric had been for upholstery, the decorative wefts would have been firmly bound to the ground, making a heavier, more compact cloth.