Tuesday, 13 September 2011

An exciting unused bolt of early 19th century toile de Nantes

Last week I was at a large antiques fair and the weather was appalling. We needed refreshment and a break from the wind and rain so made our way to the café building which also had some stall holders on the ground floor. From across the room I could see a large pile of red-printed fabric and walked towards it transfixed. It turned out to be an unused bolt of roller-printed neoclassical Toile in deep madder red, possibly from Nantes, most likely dating to about 1815. It depicts the story of Joan of Arc. It had been found tucked away in an old French amoire. I asked how much there was and was told there was 6.3 meters. The price seemed very reasonable, so I bought it straight away and tucked it into a bag to protect it from the rain.

It wasn't until later that I realised there was quite a bit more than 6 meters, it turned out to be a 20 meter bolt, probably a length intended for a whole set of bed curtains etc but never made up. The last picture is a reference to the same toile in a different colourway from the book: Antique French Textiles for Designers by June K Laval, I have an apron printed in Blue in the same toile, but am thrilled to bits with this wonderful unused yardage which has gone to Christie's for an appraisal.


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