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Catalog Number 1984.173.004
Description Antimacassar, n.d.. Three panel lace mat with repeated clover design. Each panel has ten squares with the same clover design. Entire piece has a scalloped edge.
Object Name Antimacassar
Collection 3D - Household Accessories
Title Antimacassar, n.d.
Date n.d.
Creator Unknown
Role Fiber Artist
Inscription Text none
Provenance
Notes "An antimacassar /?ænt?m??kæs?r/ is a small cloth placed over the backs or arms of chairs, or the head or cushions of a sofa, to prevent soiling of the permanent fabric. The name also refers to the cloth flap 'collar' on a sailor's shirt or top, used to keep macassar oil off the uniform.

Macassar oil was an unguent for the hair commonly used by men in the early 19th century. The poet Byron called it "thine incomparable oil, Macassar." The fashion for oiled hair became so widespread in the Victorian and the Edwardian period that housewives began to cover the arms and backs of their chairs with washable cloths to preserve the fabric coverings from being soiled. Around 1850, these started to be known as antimacassars. They were also installed in theatres, from 1865.

They came to have elaborate patterns, often in matching sets for the various items of parlour furniture; they were either made at home using a variety of techniques such as crochet or tatting, or purchased. The original antimacassars were usually made of stiff white crochet-work, but in the third quarter of the 19th century they became simpler and softer, usually fabric embroidered with a simple pattern in wool or silk. Annie Chapman, the second canonical victim of Jack the Ripper, was said to have made antimacassars for a living shortly before she was murdered.

By the beginning of the 20th century, antimacassars had become so associated in people's minds with the Victorian period that the word briefly became a figurative term for it.
Antimacassars are also used on the seat headrests of commercial passenger transport vehicles, such as trains, buses and especially aircraft to extend the life of fabrics." [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimacassar 3/20/2017]
Dimensions H-16.5 W-13.5 inches
Medium Textile
Search Terms Chair
Chairs
Household Decor
Household Goods
Subjects Chairs
Houses