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Title: Paduasoy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of fabric names, Calico (textile), Swedish East India Company, C change, Kerseymere
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Paduasoy or padesoy[1] (French: peau de soie) is a luxurious strong corded or grosgrain silk textile that originated in Early Modern Europe. The term paduasoy first appeared in English in 1663.[2]

Paduasoy silk was woven in a variation of the great bargains are to be had", from the cargo of a ship in the China trade that had docked at Baltimore and were to be auctioned in October 1785. Among his requests, if they could be had cheaply, were "About 13 yds of good bla: paduasoy".[7] Beatrix Potter employed paduasoy to set the old-fashioned scene in The Tailor of Gloucester, which begins, "In the time of swords and periwigs and full-skirted coats with flowered lappets—when gentlemen wore ruffles, and gold-laced waistcoats of paduasoy and taffeta—there lived a tailor in Gloucester.[8]

In Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford (1851), an old white paduasoy wedding dress longed for by Miss Matty's mother has been recut into a christening cloak for a baby.[9]

The original French term, peau de soie, is once again part of the English vernacular.


  1. ^ Deborah Franklin used the phonetic spelling "padeysway" in 1737 (The Accounts of Benjamin Franklin Through 1747University of Delaware, ).
  2. ^ OED, s.v. "Paduasoy"; the deformation of a "Padua say", a kind of serge from Padua (OED) intends an undeserved connection to "silk of Padua". This has misled the unwary: "She was attired in a robe of the rich silk of Padua known as paduasoy, of a soft lustrous texture, shot with threads of silver" (Isabella MacFarlane, A Royal Knight: A Tale of Nuremberg 1905).
  3. ^ According to Leanna Lee-Whitman, "The Silk Trade: Chinese Silks and the British East India Company", Winterthur Portfolio, 17.1 (Spring 1982:21-41), esp. pp 30f.
  4. ^ Lee-Whitman 1982:30.
  5. ^ Quoted in R. T. Haines Halsey, "Textiles as Furnishings in Early American Homes Textiles as Furnishings in Early American Homes", The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 19.6 (June 1924:148-151) p. 151.
  6. ^ Leanna Lee-Whitman 1982:31.
  7. ^ Quoted in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 40.4 (1916:460)
  8. ^ "Terms for fabric consume the first pages of Tailor of Gloucester", observes H. Field, "A Few of the Author's Favorite Things: Clothes, Fetishism, and The Tailor of Gloucester" The Lion and the Unicorn, 2010.
  9. ^ Cranford, "Old Letters".
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