Friday, 27 May 2011

The emergance of Neoclassical toiles in the early 19th century

I recently bought a batch of small French toile fragments, some in good condition, others quite worn, but most are documented pieces that I have been able to identify using some of my books. They are mostly early 19th century pieces that either describe the progression in style from Rococo to Neoclassical, or full blown neoclassical design in all its glory. They also exploit the technology of roller printing to its limit, using background texture and pattern to link motifs that used to 'float' like islands on the background fabric because of the constraints of block printing techniques and to a lesser degree plate printing.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Assassination of Kléber or The French in Egypt c1825

This lovely fragment of printed French toile depicts the Assassination of Jean Baptiste Kléber in Egypt: "Jean Baptiste Kléber (9 March 1753 – 14 June 1800) was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars. His military career started in Habsburg service, but his plebeian ancestry hindered his opportunities. Eventually, he volunteered for the French Army in 1791, and rose through the ranks. Kléber served in the Rhineland during the War of the First Coalition, and also suppressed the Vendee Revolt. He retired to private life in the peaceful interim after the Treaty of Campo Formio, but returned to military service to accompany Napoleon in the Egyptian Campaign in 1798-99. When Napoleon left Egypt to return to Paris, he appointed Kléber as commander of the French forces. He was assassinated by a student in Cairo in 1800." Wikipedia
It was roller-printed on cotton and manufactured by Hartmann et Fils in Munster, c1825.

It is interesting to note the that assassin is depicted wearing a typical European paisley shawl from the period with characteristic upright boteh; Patricia Frost says in her book Miller's Collecting Textiles: "It is said that the Indian shawl came to Europe with Napoleon's soldiers returning from the Egyptian campaigns - by the end of the 18th century, fashionable European ladies were clamouring for 'cachemire' shawls to drape over their shoulders over the Empire-line fashions of the day."

Saturday, 21 May 2011

All That Glitters...

I bought about 20 kilograms of these gorgeous embroidery threads today; sadly the huge stock the dealer had is finally coming to an end, so I bought up as much as I could carry, and reserved some for next week. They came from a closed-down factory in Lyon, France and mostly date to the 1950s and 60s. The dealer bought about 2 tons of them a few years ago, and they have been bewitching me ever since. They are made from gold, silver or coloured flat metal wrapped around a core thread, some are wrapped in brown paper & string in kilogram batches.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

L’amour et L’amité c1820

This is a beautiful piece of antique French toile d'Alsace dating to about 1818-20 in a design called l’Amour et l’Amitié or Love and Friendship. It is plate printed in madder on fine cotton. Several similar toiles were produced in France at the same time; a similar toile de Jouy is recorded called 'L'Amour Les Conduit - L'Amitié Les Raméne or Love Leads Them Away - Friendship Brings Them Back. The toile designers appear to have taken their inspiration from the artist Two sources; Prud'hon whose works included a pinting called L'Union de l'Amour et de l'Amitié or the Union of Love & Friendship and two engravings made after paintings by Mallet, L'Amour Les Conduit and L'Amitié le Raméne.

The piece shown here was printed in Munster at the Hartmann factory.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

18th century silk & 2 17th century velvets

Here are some beautiful pieces of early velvet and silk. I think the pink silk is 18th century, French, some small fragments of a large scale damask pieced together, mismatched, some even back to front, but still a wonderful reference piece. The deep blue/green velvet piece is made up as a runner with passementerie trim and a silk lining, again, pieced from fragments. I believe it to be Italian, late 17th century or early 18th century, but cannot find any solid references, but it is very similar to the red & gold piece, which I could reference: I think it is Italian and dates to the second half of the 17th century. Velvet was extensively used as a furnishing fabric because of it's comfortable, hard-wearing pile. The pile was often one colour, generally red as it is in this example, on a matching or contrasting background.
It is known as Ciselé velvet, the pattern, incomplete here, shows large styalized florals and leaves in pinkish red pile, cut and uncut, on a yellow satin ground. The selvages have narrow stripes of green and cream silk.

Referenced from the book: European Textiles in the Kier Collection 4000BC to 1800AD by Monique King & Donald King published in 1990 by Faber & Faber