Some time ago I posted about how a lucky reader had found three Brooke Cadwallader Christmas scarves. As luck would have it, Cadwallader’s great-nephew, David Noyes, recently commented on the post:
Brooke Cadwallader was my great uncle. I worked with him in his factory, Casa de los Gallos S.A. as a teenager. I hand-inked the opaques for the silk screens. He was a meticulous craftsman who insisted on perfection from himself and from everyone else, but he was also a kind and generous man who infused everything he did, including his art and his business, with wry humor. He treated his employees like family.
He never copyrighted any of his designs and they were freely imitated -if not stolen- for decades. Leopard skin print? Originally by Brooke Cadwallader. Rattan print? Originally by Brooke Cadwallader. Toile wallpaper print? Originally by Brooke Cadwallader.
When he lost his factory and business due to bureaucratic laws and a crooked accountant, he burned all of his screens, stock fabric and most of his designs before vacating the premises.
When he passed away some 30 odd years ago, I settled his estate (being the only one in my family with Spanish) and I have all of his sample books, many neckties and a number of shirts made from his fabrics.
It was a delight learning more about Cadwallader from someone who actually knew him.
Here’s another look at Blanche Nechanicky’s 1920s middy dress. Reader Nancy very kindly looked for information about Blanche on Ancestry.com, and she hit the motherload! Because of her unusual name and because we knew the year of her birth, Nancy located Blanche in census records, in city directories, and on ocean liner passenger lists. There are even yearbook photos. According to the 1929 Iowa State University yearbook, The Bomb, she was majoring in home economics, as were all the other young women on the page.
The fabric is a special one to me and my wife Lyla as it is actually about us, it’s a portrayal of guerrilla gardening in London with us both in it from Liberty’s spring summer 2013 collection. Liberty even called the fabric Richard and Lyla. On the Liberty blog, and for sale online.
I always love learning more about the topics discussed here, so please email or post when you can add the rest of the story.