Friday, 18 April 2008

Bordeaux Toile de Jouy

Château Sénailhac was beautifully decorated, each room displaying a different theme and motif. The windows all had their original shutters and we had breakfast in our own little salon. It was wonderful. The designers had used fabrics to cover the walls printed with the classic Toile de Jouy in many of the rooms and it was like stepping back in time.

Toile de Jouy, sometimes abbreviated to simply "toile", is a type of decorating pattern consisting of a white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a French pastoral scenes of shepherdesses, farm animals, trees, etc. The pattern portion consists of a single colour, most often black, dark red, or blue. Greens and magenta toile patterns are less common but not unheard of.

Toile de Jouy originated in France in the 1800s. It became a great vogue and was the height of fashion but its origins came about after the magnificent, extravagant reign of Louis XIV, when France went through a period of great financial distress. Even the nobility were obliged to "cut corners." The floral, lace, and ribbon motifs that had been designed for the rich silk brocades were used, toward the middle and end of the eighteenth century, for hand blocked prints on fine cottons and linens in the best of homes.

In the French language, the phrase literally means "cloth from Jouy-en-Josas”, a town of north-central France. Although it has been continuously produced since then, it has now come full circle and is once again being used in clothing as designers have cottoned on to its popularity.

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