Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Antique French 18th Century Red Toile de Jouy Fabric?

When I think of French fabric, I immediately think of "Toile." 

Toile de Jouy, (French: “fabric of Jouy”: ) also called "Jouy Print" or simply "toile", cotton or linen printed with designs of landscapes and figures for which the 18th-century factory of Jouy-en-Josas, near Versailles, Fr., was famous. The Jouy factory was started in 1760 by a Franco-German, Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf. His designs were printed originally from woodblocks alone but from 1770 from copperplates as well, this innovation having been anticipated in England in 1757.  (Definition from Encyclopedia Brittanica.)

When toile fabric was first made in France, beautiful scenes featuring the French countryside were predominant. These motifs showed people at work and at leisure. Hunting scenes, which depicted a favorite pastime of the well-to-do, were often depicted in early toile fabrics. To this day I smile when I see a red and white toile!  They just make me happy.

One of my favorite items that I bid on and won at Auction a couple of weeks ago was an antique French Toile de Jouy coverlet!

When I first saw it I fell for the raspberry and white color and then the pattern wowed me. I've been researching the fabric in an attempt to identify, date and, of course, price it for the store.  The coverlet is 74" in length and 54" wide and then has a scalloped side drop of 35". 

I found what looks to be a piece of the same or very similar fabric on the internet with a description of:

"This textile is a wonderful, Antique French toile dating 1790~ ~
~Beautiful! ~*~ this lovely textile is a lightly quilted 18th century, French toile textile, dating 1790. The printed toile is titled " l'art d'aimer" and was printed 1785-1790 by Petitpierre~*~ This fabric was printing using copper plates printing and used and aluminum mordant to produce this wonderful raspberry red tone."  (Quoted from the ebay website of Antique Vintage European Textiles) 

I've also e-mailed a French fabric "expert" to help me identify the fabric. She requested that I send her pictures of the different scenes represented in the fabric.  Here are a few of my favorite pastoral scenes depicted in the fabric described above.  When I have more definitive information about my coverlet, I'll be sure to update you!

I like the quaintness of the wording of what appears to be a sign on the brick wall or fence above. "L'Agreable Lecon." I believe this means "The pleasant lesson."

Two Cherubs fishing with a basket full of their "catch" at their feet.

 Here are some lovely rooms and "items" that show the beauty and countless uses for Toile de Jouy fabrics and designs.

A beautiful blue and white toile on French chair and dramatic, flowing drapery.
(Photo courtesy of Pierre deux)

This coverlet looks almost exactly like the one that I purchased!  The coverlet design is the same although the toile is a different pattern.
(Photo courtesy of House and Garden)

I couldn't resist showing you this lovely room (even though just a little of the toile fabric on the daybed is shown!)  This is a great inspiration photo for Christmas.  Copying is a great form of flattery, isn't it?
(Photo courtesy of Veranda Magazine)

Toile was often used on the interiors of cabinets.  I love the white ironstone collection.
(Photo courtesy of House Beautiful)

Beautiful toile on the window treatments and chair cushions!
(Photo courtesy of House Beautiful)

The blue chinoiserie toile on a white background in this room is fresh, calming, airy and pleasing.
(Photo courtesy of Veranda Magazine)

I love this room. I love the softness of the draped round table, the slip covered armchair, and the touch of pattern added to  the room by the multi-panel toile fabric screen and the faux giraffe print rug.
(Photo courtesy of House Beautiful)

Toile is perfect for outside. (Windows photo gallery)

It can keep your feet dry in the rain! (La Boutique Chateau de Versailles)

It's beautiful in even the smallest quantity. (House Beautiful)

And sometimes, toile is even beautiful when it "Goes to the dogs!" (cfbd Etsy Shop)

Au revoir, Mitty

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

French Inspired Wedding Custom #3 - The Bouquet Toss


As I mentioned in a previous post, in 14th century France young brides would throw their garter belt to the male wedding revelers in an attempt to keep them from tearing off pieces of her wedding dress (which was considered good luck.)  One bride, apparently quite fond of her garter belt, decided to toss her floral bouquet instead!  This began the custom of throwing the bride's bouquet!

Today the garter is tossed by the groom to his single male guests and the bride tosses the bouquet to her single female guests. The male and female who catches the garter or the bouquet is supposed to have good luck and be the next to marry (but not necessarily to each other.)

Isn't it amazing that these two popular American wedding customs originated from attempts to keep intoxicated male wedding guests from tearing the bride's wedding dress to bits?  I'm intrigued, I can't wait to research other wedding customs and their origination.

Love the hat, the black and white wedding dress, and most of all, the attitude. 

Always what I think of as the classic bride - Jacqueline Kennedy at Hammersmith Farm in Newport, Rhode Island on the day of her wedding, September 12, 1953, preparing to throw her wedding bouquet.

Au revoir, Mitty

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Camera-less My Faux French Chateau! - French Flowers and Limoges China

Bonjour Mes Amis,

I hope this Tuesday afternoon finds you well. I missed posting this morning as I found myself running around trying to find a camera repair shop. As I mentioned yesterday, my NEW Nikon is broken. I wasn't worried though as I thought I could use my old camera while the new one is being repaired.  NOT TO BE.  Somehow while traveling to and from France we (MH and I) must have broken the old camera.  The lens appears to be shattered. We took it with us to France as a back-up just in case I had trouble with the new one. Can you believe it!

So for now, I am camera-less.  I'll come up with a plan though - I enjoy what I am doing so much and need to have digital photos for the store.

Peony, French Blue Hydrangea, Sunflowers

In the meantime, here are some pictures of the beautiful flowers that my dear friends and MDD's Maid of Honor arranged for the Bridal Shower.  The flowers were beautifully arranged in various vintage teapots.  The bouquets were made of MDD's favorite flowers - FRENCH blue hydrangeas, peonies and sunflowers.  MDD's place setting at the table was arranged with FRENCH Limoges China given to her Maid of Honor by her Grandmother.  It was beautiful.  Thank God for friends and family who love you enough to go out of their way to make special occasions even more special.

I've never seen a Peony like this - pink with orange - so beautiful!

French Blue Hydrangea

Beautiful flowers in Franciscan Desert Rose Teapot

Haviland French Limoges Chantilly Place Setting - Maid of Honor's gift from her Grandmother

Last but not least, my friends were teasing me at the Bridal Shower on Saturday and wondered how I could make the Bridal Shower "French Enough" to be mentioned on My Faux French Chateau blog.
I think I figured it out!

Au revoir, Mitty

Monday, May 23, 2011

French Bleu

If I could choose only one color today it would be French Bleu. 
Natural Linen and French Bleu - perfect for me.



Photo taken in Provence, May 2011 Mitty Songer

So now I'm headed out the door to try to get my camera fixed! A perfect day on Saturday was only slightly dampened by the unfortunate dropping of my camera. Some dear friends were gathered in celebration at a Bridal Shower for MDD. Luckily the party was almost over when the camera was dropped and I'd taken picture after picture so I'm hoping to be able to retrieve some great photos. Wish me luck - I already feel lost without it!

(Photos Courtesy of: Veranda Magazine, Southern Living, Unknown, Veranda, Veranda, Mitty Songer)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Favorite French Things Friday - Architectural Details - Religious

I walked the villages of Provence filled with a sense of wonder and humility.  There was something humbling about the sheer beauty, history and detail in the buildings that surrounded me as I walked.  It seemed that every few minutes I'd look up and there would be the Virgin Mary or The Madonna and Child looking down at me.  I was amazed as these figures comforting me as I walked were not on churches or other religious buildings, they were on the facades of private homes and businesses.  The home above simply made me sigh in wonder. To me, this is beauty.

Au revoir, Mitty

Thursday, May 19, 2011

French "Ironie"

Irony - "Ironie" in French. Wikipedia defines situational irony as "the disparity of intention and result: when the result of an action is contrary to the desired or expected effect. Being "shot with one's own gun", or "hoisted with one's own petard" are popular formulations of the basic idea of situational irony."

So isn't it ironic that my wonderful trip to Provence (and yes it was wonderful), resulted in me purchasing fewer French Antiques in France than I did last weekend right outside of Dallas, Texas! I kid you not!

I have a weekly habit of searching for Auctions and Estate Sales, always looking for merchandise for the opening of my store.  I found an amazing sounding auction in Richardson, Texas with a house full of French Antiques.  Last Friday I went to preview the sale and could not believe my eyes.  I was giddy with anticipation for the auction on Saturday and Sunday.  I ended up purchasing several pieces and even had the added joy of MDD getting into the auction action with me!  I think she ended up having as much fun as I did.  Does the apple fall far from the tree?

Arriving at the Auction location.

MDD and I registered and got our Auction Brochure and Bidder Numbers

Finding the best seat under the auction tent.  We arrived early of course!

MDD and I loading up one of her "finds."  She found this beautiful french fauteuil.

I'm so excited about my purchases at the auction and can't wait to get them painted, reupholstered, and ready for resale. I think I have some pieces that will be beautiful in any room.  I'll share some of these with you as I work on them.

Have a great Thursday and try to make a little time for your passion, whatever it may be.

Au revoir, Mitty

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

French Inspired Wedding Custom #2 - The Tossing of the Garter Belt "The Jarretière"

It is believed that the tradition of tossing the garter belt "The Jarretière" dates back to fourteenth-century France. Medieval French wedding revelers considered pieces of the bride's dress lucky and would bring good fortune. Guests would literally rip off pieces of the bride's wedding gown leaving the dress ripped and in tatters. To stop this custom (I'm mortified myself, having just purchased MDD's wedding dress!) resourceful brides started throwing items to their guests. One of these items was the garter belt.

Today, the Groom removes the garter and tosses it to the unmarried men in attendance at the wedding. The man that catches the garter will have good luck and be the next to marry.

Checking the internet to see illustrations of various wedding garter belts, I was surprised by the number of different themed ones that can be purchased.  I've collected a few photos to show you the variety available! Hmmmm, I think MDD might like the camo one! (Just joking!)

Photo from the Etsy Store of Rosebud Lips

Presumably the "Lucky" winner of the Garter Belt Toss

Wedding Garter Belt for the Football Enthusiast!

Last but not least, I couldn't resist the Camouflage Wedding Garter Belt!

Au revoir! Mitty

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

French Inspired Design - Slipcovers - Bad Reputation - Great Look!

I recall thinking of slipcovers and having an image of poorly made and even worse fitting sheet-like, ghost-like creatures come into my mind. But the slipcovers of today are typically anything but! They are often beautifully detailed and can add a touch of softness and whimsy to a room.

I'm currently working on slip covering for several antique French chairs for the "store" and have also been on the lookout for a slipcover style for my own dining room chairs.  I found these beautiful pictures that I'm using for my inspiration! Now I just wish I knew how to sew!

I love the taupe or flax colored linen look of this slipcover and adore the Monogram! I also think the formal box pleat, double welt cording and formal monogram are softened by the casualness of the three ribbon-like ties on the sides of the chair.
(Southern Living Magazine)

The slipcover details on this chair are unbelievable.  The miniature box pleating framing the chair back,  the large monogram personalizing the chair seat, the box pleating on the skirt and the lacing of the ribbon ties on the chair legs are perfectly beautiful.  If this chair were a person, it would surely be a ballerina!
(Country Living Magazine)

The larger box pleats are perfect with the size and scale of this chair. I also like the visual interest added by the tone on tone fabric choice.
(Country Living Magazine)

Any of these styles would be beautiful on my dining room chairs. I'll just add one more thing to my "To Do" list.

In looking at these three pictures, I noticed another common design element "thread" that captures my eye.  Did you notice that all three chairs are resting on a sisal, sea grass or coir rug? Lately I seem to always gravitate to this look. Again, I love the formal with the casual.  It's sort of like a woman knowing she is feminine and beautiful but dressing in jeans and a T-shirt and not taking herself too seriously.

Au revoir, Mitty