“What an utter delight these images are. This book so deftly combines beauty, history, commerce, and play. It’s so off the main road that everything about it is fresh and surprising. Yet at the same time it is thoroughly accessible.”
Malcolm Margolin, founder of Heyday Books



“Remarkable on many levels, like the India it portrays, Meller’s book will probably never be rivalled by a competing text, unlike rug and textile publications. Seldom does one have the opportunity to behold the first truly accessible, yet final, word on any subject; but that is what we have with Labels of Empire.
HALI magazine, Autumn 2023



“The excellence and authoritative references of this title cannot be emphasized enough, but it’s rare to see such a production promise equal attraction to general-interest audiences. All these strengths make Labels of Empire a unique standout whether libraries are seeking histories, art surveys, or an emphasis on Indian culture.”
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review



“In Labels of Empire, Meller skillfully pieces together the threads of history using the unassuming medium of cloth labels. The result is a captivating tale of economic competition, cultural influence, and the power of a nation’s determination. This outstanding work offers readers a fresh perspective on the Raj era, making it a must-read for history enthusiasts and anyone fascinated by the intersection of culture and commerce.”



“Susan Meller founded the Design Library in New York which has the most extensive commercial archive of period textiles and original textile designs in the world. She is used to big projects, and this is no light-weight tome on two counts: it is physically a large and heavy book, and it is packed full of detailed and exhaustive research. However, do not let the moniker of detailed and exhaustive research frighten you. Labels of Empire carries its scholarship lightly and it is a good easy read… It is a great achievement.”
ASIAN TEXTILES: Journal of the Oxford Asian Textile Group.



Labels of Empire is a visual feast. The images are intricate, lush, varied, and surprising. The beauty of the labels is abundant and astounding. Every time I look a different image takes my breath away. They are also historical documents that provide a window into the attitudes of empire and colonialism. The text is detailed, informative, and deeply researched.”
Julie Paschkis, painter and illustrator



“There will be hundreds of labels in this book that will strongly connect to the lives of Indian people and their families. In addition to the aesthetic pleasure it provides, the book will be a great source of conversation, laughter, history, and derision of colonial era thinking. Labels of Empire will also become a very special book for all generations to share.”
Marc T. Ribbink, antique textile collector



“What a gorgeous book!
Susan Meller brings to light the artistry of these ‘shipper’s tickets’ which tell a story of a time, a culture, and a people. So much in such a small piece of paper.”
Jennifer Bury, movement therapist



“The author’s trained collector’s eye and scholarly dedication have led her from a single “shipper’s ticket” to discover thousands of entrancingly rendered depictions of Indian gods, myths, rulers, daily life, plants and animals – almost all in the form of trademark labels for the sale of English-made cloth to India.

This lavish visual voyage through these “appropriations” of a colonized peoples’ vast imaginative riches gives one a pause that is immediately overwhelmed by the amazing fact of this wonderful gift of a book.”
Russ Ellis, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley



“AMAZING!!! This is just the coolest book ever – thanks for doing this beautiful work! You make the world a more interesting place.”
Elizabeth Hewitt, Tulu Textiles, Istanbul



“Congratulations, Susan. The extensive research you have done on the history of the Raj through the labels is astounding, amazing, mind-blowing. Not enough words to express my delight on your work.”
Geeta Khandelwal, quilter and author of “Godharis of Maharashtra”, Bombay




Elephant Couple