Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Art Nouveau, Art Deco & Late Victorian French Prints

Here are a selection of late 19th century and early 20th century French printed fabric, some I have had for a while, some have sold a while ago and a few I obtained last week on my successful buying trip.

The first five are light and airy, quite cheap and basic corded cottons, a fabric I believe is known as 'rep'. They all date to around the 1930s, and are Art Deco in style, they would have been used for curtains and quilts. French Art Deco was much more sinuous and closer to art Nouveau than most other countries, but I like that! I find some very angular more typical Deco designs less appealing.

The next 3 are Art Nouveau panels dating to btween 1895-1910, their sinuous styalisation typical of the period. Art Nouveau flowers always look so glamerous!

The final prints are Victorian, and date to about 1880, cluttered, styalised, full of pattern and over-blown gorgeousness. So typical of an era that had gone through and was still going through such momentous change; this is reflected in the new technology brought to bear in the textile industry, and in the influence on design & pattern of many different cultures.


  1. I was not aware of the vast difference between French Art Deco and the Art Deco of other cultures. The French designs look so much like Art Nouveau to me. How interesting a difference. And I agree with you that some of the Art Deco was also a little too sharp at times. I have a French tulip print that I thought was Art Nouveau but now I am guessing it might be Deco. The middle 3 are nice too. The last one, third, looks a la William Morris. What do you think? The last two in the last grouping look gothic or Celtic. I am not sure which. What an amazing way to see how changes in design and eras are developed. I always leave here with some new information that I had not known. You are a great teacher.

  2. I too thought the top fabrics were Nouveau when I first found them, I only discovered the difference through 'The Textile blog' - link in my sidebar, an excellent source of highly researched academic information - a year or so ago, he posted a very interesting piece that made me re-think some of the French textiles I had seen. I also think that the 5 fabrics above are perhaps more a cheap & cheerful mainstream interpretation of Deco & the Nouveau period before, and not so radical in style as cutting edge, high-designed fabrics, if you know what I mean, so the distinctions begin to blur a little. I use this blog to muse over my ideas and interpretations of textiles I come across, but I may be wrong in some cases! All part o life's rich tapestry!

    I agree about the last one, very gothic and celtic, a slightly more typical Victorian look than the then developing Arts & Crafts style, but the kind of fabric that inspired William Morris, I am sure.