History of Toile De Jouy

31 Aug

Toiles de Jouy are the most European of fabrics.

Toiles are still a popular fabric in some homes. We thought we’d share a bit of the interesting history of Toile de Joy (or Jouy).

Inspired by an Irishman, advanced by the British, and refined to an Toile1art form by two German brothers who moved from Switzerland to France, these printed designs capture the romance of 18th Century Europe and remain some of the finest fabrics ever made in the west.

They were originally printed with wood blocks or copper plates with designs that were often based on engravings by well-known artists of the day. These fabrics depict pastoral and genre scenes, neoclassical motifs, historical events, chinoiserie, birds and florals.

In 1760 two German brothers, Christopher-Philippe and Frederick Oberkampf Toile2emigrated from Switzerland and settled in the town of Joy-en-Josas outside of Paris, where they built a factory. Their name soon became synonymous with monochromatic copper-printed textiles and their standards of excellence are responsible for Toile de Jouy’s lasting appeal.

When printing first began for Toile, only wood blocks were available. Unbleached cotton was washed in the water of the river, beaten, dried and smoothed through a a rolling press. Printers applied mordants (substances to fix dyes) to the cloth. After mordants adhered to the fibers, the fabric was washed again and boiled in a toile3madder solutions, or dye bath, creating a chemical reaction between the various salts and mordants. Color appeared where the mordants had been applied. Rolls of the fabric were stretched out in the meadows and leached by the sum to eliminate background tinting, and then were subjected to more washing and soaking in chlorinated water. Details and highlights were painted directly on the fabric by hand.

After 1770, copper plates allowed finer detail, and the Joy factory began producing more complex compositions, many of which depicted people in a landscape. These toile4ranged from scenes of contemporary events (hot air ballooning, Napoleon’s victories) to those from literature, theater and mythology.  Marie Antoinette decorated every possible surface with toile de joy. Although it is these vignettes that are most identified with the Joy factory and are most coveted today, the factory always produced more florals than pictorals. Sales and profits at the factory were immense, and it heyday, 1,500 employees produced 5,000 meters of fabric a day! Now that’s a lot of fabric to produce in one day!

Today’s uses are still in fabric and also in wallpaper. It’s a classic that will never grow old.

 

http://www.deluxdrapery.com

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