Novelty prints, also known as conversational prints, feature representations of real life objects and are some of the most delightful of textile designs.
Scarves present a wonderful solution for the space-limited conversational print collector. Shown above are two scarves from (now closed) Big City Vintage: one features an American Western conversational on a rare Club 21 scarf. The other, open umbrellas are part of the Fashion Accessory theme.
Some prints are easily recognized as novelty - such as the charming Fashion Accessory novelty print found on a 1950's vintage dress from Get Lucky Vintage shown above.
Interesting to note that while fruit prints are conversationals; florals are not.
Commemorative Prints of significant historical events are also novelty prints, so one would categorize the coronation scarf of Queen Elizabeth found below as a conversational print.
Hunting scenes can be found on printed fabrics since the late 1700s. Shown below is a wonderful duck hunting print on a rare 1940's "Lucky Boy" flannel shirt from Get Lucky Vintage.
Conversational prints featuring holiday themes are also a source of never-ending delight, as shown on the flying angel print apron, circa 1940. Shown here:
The 20th century resulted in a new body of images being added to the Novelty Print textile design category: images of trademarked, licensed characters such as The Lone Ranger, Holly Hobby, or The Coneheads, as seen on this vintage necktie:It is important to note that logos themselves are not considered a conversation/novelty design.
As you can see, the possibilities for Conversational/Novelty Print themes are endless.
Important distinctions must be made, however.
A common misclassification occurs when one assumes that simply because a textile print spurs a conversation, it automatically makes it a "conversational print". It does not - or at one time or another virtually ALL prints could be thusly categorized.
Another common mistake is when Folkloric Prints are wrongly described as conversational or novelty prints. They are not. Folkloric Prints are another body of textile designs, and we will explore those in the future.