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It was not till nearly 1820 that black became fashionable.

The shawls often had ornamental comers or central medallions known as " pot-lids." The plaids more rarely had patterned centres.

Both styles were copies from Indian models, and were made of silk.

Commonly the centres were white, but occasionally buff or red.

Napoleon's officers are said to have been the means of introducing them from Egypt to France.

It is to be regretted, therefore, that there is so much misapprehension and even ignorance among their admirers, and that the art and craft of their manufacture is almost forgotten.

The draw-loom of that period could not execute such elaborate designs, no suitable woollen yarn was found, and fashion demanded smaller shawls of pale colours.

The earliest shawls were of two distinct types - square shawls with borders applied to centres either plain or sprigged with a small object known as a " spade," and long shawls with a deep border of Indian design at each end of a plain centre, with a narrower border applied all round.

A French trade journal Le Cachemirien, of designs copied from Indian examples cites the owners of the shawls - the King of the Belgians, the Due de Berri, and others.

It was the nobility of Britain who acquired them too. These soon succeeded, and eventually the Indian trade was almost entirely superseded.

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