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Selling Printed Cottons in Mid-Nineteenth-Century India: John Matheson of Glasgow and Scottish Turkey Red



This article on cotton sales in India considers the market information that was gathered mid-nineteenth century by commission agents in Bombay and by personal observations of Glasgow Turkey red entrepreneur John Matheson. The article includes an account of the rise and demise of Turkey red cotton printing in Scotland; and explores the variety of piece sizes, patterns, colors, and packaging that was necessary for sales in India. It also reveals seasonal changes in demand and an appetite for novelty patterns. What did Matheson, his contemporaries, and his agents understand about their Indian markets and consider their limited ability to shape consumer taste? The article concludes that despite the existence of much relevant information conveyed from India, there was a blindness to the realities of India’s complex textile industry and dress cultures, which had implications for product development in Britain.



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Selling Printed Cottons in Mid-Nineteenth-Century India: John Matheson of Glasgow and Scottish Turkey Red



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