Cotton sample, Rylands and Sons Limited, Manchester, 1840-1920. One of a set of four. This sample is numbered 3677.
These are four stamped bolt ends of a type of cotton fabric called 'Brilliante', which means 'bright' or 'diamond' in Spanish. It is a lightweight cotton fabric with a repeated geometric pattern on a plain field. Each of the four samples collected has a different geometric pattern and the indigo blue stamp shows a different number, which probably refers to the weave pattern or the weight of the fabric.
'Brilliante' fabric has a light silky feel and was used for linings and in millinery as a cheaper alternative to silk. The finished cloth would be suitable for dyeing and finishing giving it great flexibility. These are samples that would have been sent to the merchant (Rylands and Sons Limited) by the company that stamped, baled and shipped the fabric pieces to the customer abroad. The bleacher, printer or packing warehouse would have received the order and sent the cloth stamped in a way specified by Rylands and these were copies to show exactly how they were stamped.
The different numbers on these four stamped bolt ends refer to different specifications of cloth. The "Regd and engaged" stamp means that the image of the horserider is a registered trademark, agreed for use in the country where the fabric was sold, however it is a little vague as true registered trademarks were assigned a code number which was usually quoted, so this stamp may have just been used to warn those considering copying and not actually true.
Rylands & Sons Ltd were the largest and most powerful cotton manufacturers operating in Manchester at the peak of the Manchester cotton industry. The success of this company made John Rylands Manchester's first millionaire. He was a famous philanthropist, and the John Rylands Library in Manchester was erected in 1899 by his widow in his honour. The script is Arabic script and the image is North African, meaning that this 'brilliante' cotton was intended for the North African market.