If there is a famous fabric pattern can be associated with France it definitely is the Toile de Jouy. While working in a Decorator boutique, it was very interesting to see that this fabric would be out for a while and then come back again. Also interesting was the image of the pattern itself it started with rural scenery with the famous classic “pastorale” and then “modernized” with all kinds of crazy patterns such as motor bikers etc…
A bit of history
The famous pattern style commonly called « toile de Jouy » (cloth of Jouy) got its name from one of the main textile manufactures of the XVIIIth century. In fact at that time in France there were a lot a textile printers. The manufacture in Toile de Jouy was founded and directed by 1760 by Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf. It was the time of Louis the XVIth and Marie-Antoinette, and the of the Rococo style. The famous drawings andpatterns were, at that time, created by the painter, engraver and designer, Jean-Baptiste Huet. People loved these Toiles and the orders were overwelming.
The details back then
The Toile de Jouy pattern was printed on white or off white cotton fabric. The pattern was then engraved on copper plates which ensured a fine and precise print. It was a monochrome print, most commonly in grey, red or blue. Famous scenes often represented where bucolic patterns portraying imaginery of rural life called the “pastorale”. These included romantic scenes representing platonic love, animals, trees and flowers, and old ruines. Big events such as the discovery of the balloon where also represented on these prints. There was also a craze for representing scenes from the orient, like China, commonly called “chinoiserie”, and from Turkey with the “turqueries” or exotics animals with the “singeries”.
The Look: back then there was never enough Toiles de Jouy, for example you could see bedrooms which would be totally filled with Toile de Jouy fabric, the walls, the bed the armchairs…
The Toile de Jouy today
This pattern style of the Toile de Jouy has been continuously re-interpreted with all different kinds of sceneries and drawings. The printed material isn’t necessarily cotton anymore, you can find Toile de Jouy on linen or even silk. The background isn’t necessarly white but can be all kind of colors such as purple, pink or apple green… the style of print now can also be polychrome.
The pattern is currently printed on all kinds of items such as wallpapers, T-shirts, and various decoration pieces…
Where can you find more information:
The museum of the Toile de Jouy is located in Jouy-en-Josas, France. If you have the chance to go there you will enjoy the boutique that offers beautiful items to wear or for decoration. www.museedelatoiledejouy.fr
Some of my favorite fabric editors with different interpretations of the toile de Jouy:
and many others fabrics editors…
Regardless the Toile de Jouy pattern has never completely left the scene and if you can find your style of Toile de Jouy today, it will likely be fashionable tomorrow as it has proven to be a timeless décor.
Prior to printing the Toile de Jouy pattern as we know it today, the manufacture of Jouy-en-Josas was printing the so called Indiennes… I will talk more about this in the next weeks!