WOVEN SILK PORTRAIT OF JACQUARD. À la Mémoire de J.M. Jacquard, Né à Lyon le 7 Juillet 1752, Mort le 7 Août 1834. Lyon: Didier Petit et Cie, 1839.

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Lot 271
WOVEN SILK PORTRAIT OF JACQUARD.
À la Mémoire de J.M. Jacquard, Né à Lyon le 7 Juillet 1752, Mort le 7 Août 1834. Lyon: Didier Petit et Cie, 1839.

Sold for US$ 20,000 inc. premium

History of Science

22 Oct 2014, 13:00 EDT

New York

WOVEN SILK PORTRAIT OF JACQUARD.
À la Mémoire de J.M. Jacquard, Né à Lyon le 7 Juillet 1752, Mort le 7 Août 1834. Lyon: Didier Petit et Cie, 1839.
Woven portrait on silk, 762 x 622 mm (woven image 330 x 432 mm), framed and glazed. Some light spotting to margins, a few small imperfections to silk, edges soiled and slightly unraveled at edges where affixed to board, some small wrinkles to silk near image. Overall a beautiful wide-margined example.

A rare and important portrait of Jacquard, executed in 1839 on the programmable Jacquard loom by Didier Petit et cie, Lyon after the painting by C. Bonneford. The portrait depicts Jacquard seated in a workshop interior, with a model of his loom with loose punch cards, tools and measuring drums arranged on racks behind, with a view through the musket-ball broken window of a town. When examining the birth of the programmable computer, the medal usually gets awarded to Charles Babbage (1791-1871), a man who, against the modest technology of the day, designed on paper the world's first difference engine capable of handling 200dp of information at the same time. Joseph-Marie Jacquard's close connection to the mill industry may be seen as a distraction for those who are not informed as to the sheer cleverness of his mind. Seeing row upon row of manually operated looms weaving multi-tone sheets and fabrics, he stumbled upon an idea of making a semi-automatic tone-selection device, integrated onto the loom, for quicker and more complex patterns. Using Jacquard's definition of 40,000 punched-cards for each 'line' per 20-inches of weave, the system worked just as a modern fax machine does today. Each punch in the card directed either a black or a white coloured thread into the headstock of the loom, pin-pointing the desired thread into place. It was also tried in colour-combinations, such as red and yellow, blue and green, although these examples are extremely rare. See James Essinger Jacquard's Web. How a Hand Loom Led to the Birth of the Information Age (2004).
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