Textiles at the Briscoe Museum
As many times as I’ve been to San Antonio, you’d think I would have seen every attraction in the city. But when I was there last week, I noticed the Briscoe Western Art Museum, just across the street from La Villita, the historic art village. I thought I must have been so busy shopping at Village Weavers over the years, that I had missed a whole art museum!
I went in to check it out on Thursday morning, and was relieved to find out that it just opened in October of 2013, so it wasn’t a case of me being totally oblivious over the years.
It is a lovely museum, very open and light-fiilled. I enjoyed looking at all the galleries and it looks like they have room to add many more exhibits. What I liked best was the way they mixed the objects on display – a gallery might have a wagon or a windmill positioned in the middle of photographs, sculptures, and musical instruments, with a documentary video playing as well. Everyday working objects were placed along side of fancy or historically important ones, and many cultures were represented.
Of course I focused mainly on the textiles. I didn’t realize it until I looked at my photos, but most of the clothing exhibited was men’s clothing. You don’t see that so often.
So here are some wonderful examples of men’s clothing from the 1800s. (Taking photographs through cases never turns out very well, but I am always so happy when a museum allows photography. You can study the piece at your leisure and you see so much more detail.)
Remember that if you do a mouse-over, the colors will look more intense.
And here is something you see even less often – horse trappings. I haven’t had any horse-related textiles on the blog before! Another field to research.
And if you need any further reason to plan a trip to the Briscoe, it’s right on the gorgeous River Walk in San Antonio. The River Walk (Paseo del Rio) is a pedestrian walkway that meanders along about five miles of the San Antonio River, in the heart of downtown San Antonio, but below street level, so you can mingle with all the other turistas without worrying about getting run over.
I have been traveling so much this summer, I haven’t had much time to do much with textiles – I was happy to get to see some fantastic pieces at the Briscoe!
Beautiful textiles! I’m always blown away by the energy that went into creating fancy items for going to war. That saddle piece is spectacular–I can’t believe how old it is and that it survived!
Yes, if I were a soldier and they put me in a fancy uniform like that, and then ordered me to fight, I’d be protesting, “But I don’t want to ruin my gold braid! Can you imagine our dry-cleaning bill after the battle? Gunpowder residue is going to eat holes in the wool! What do you mean, do my duty for my country? I have to do my duty to this fabulous uniform!” I’d be court-martialed in no time.
Thanks for helping me indulge in my secret museum passion – old clothes. I’m always astonished at the detail that goes into clothing made before about 1920. All that embellishment and cunning tucks and pleats. Of course, we’re seeing the good stuff, not the cruder everyday clothing. I’m lucky to live close to the Kent State University museum that focuses on fashion and decorative arts. My fav recent exhibit was on women’s undergarments. If you’re ever in NE Ohio I recommend stopping by. And if I’m lucky enough to visit San Antonio again I’ll put the Briscoe on my list.
Oh my gosh! I looked up the Kent State museum and I am so impressed! And the curators have a blog!
I am fortunate to own two old everyday dresses – one from about 1845 and one from (I’m guessing) 1900. (These were some of my first posts, before I knew about tagging and all that good stuff. I would like to photograph them again, on a person.) I really love the beautiful fancy clothes in museums, but I know if I had lived back then, I would have had clothes more like these! 🙂
What beautiful pictures. The clothes are stunning. One wonders how long it took to do all the fine embroidery work.
Gorgeous clothes..I do love those Mexican uniforms and the colors are outstanding, especially considering their age. Can you imagine the weight of the saddle piece with the “iron” fringe? Plus then the weight of a man in uniform?? It’s amazing the horses could even move!! On my next trip to S.A. I’ll be sure and check this museum out. We love going to “Ole Town” and eating lunch or dinner! Thanks for the heads up on Briscoe!
Their hours are pretty short – just Wednesday through Sunday, 10 – 4, I think. But you can probably see everything in an hour or two. Just so you can plan appropriately! 🙂
That saddle is amazing, and the river walk is beautiful!