Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Toile de Jouy

I am on the hunt for some old toile. Toile (pronounced twahl) means "cloth" in French. “Toile de Jouy,” or “toiles de Jouy,” are terms that refer to fabric that was first manufactured at a factory in Jouy-en-Josas, a village located southwest of Paris, near Versailles. Founded in 1760 by Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf, (1738-1815), a textile entrepreneur, the factory site was chosen primarily because of its proximity to the clear running water of the Bièvre River. Mr. Oberkampf knew that water was a crucial element in the dyeing process. Only the highest quality goods were used in the production of the factory's printed fabrics made of cotton.
At first, the Oberkampf factory produced only floral designs block printed with wood blocks. In all, more than thirty thousand block print designs were utilized to print fabric there. Typical scenes of early toile fabric include dancers, people visiting and lounging, and dogs. Traditionally, each toile design had its own name, and that practice continues today.
This toile document sample probably dates to the mid-1800's and the red dye looks as if it hasn't faded a bit - a sure sign of a well printed toile.


Style Guide Magazine said...

I found this post really interesting, thank you. I am a big fan of toile but didn't know anything about its origins. Thanks again, Jane.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this interesting post, maybe you know the beautiful book "Toile de Jouy - Printed Textiles in the Classic French Style" by Mélanie Riffel and Sophie Rouard ?