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Toile du Jouy and Fabric Interiors

Here's the result of one of my last fatigues: interior decoration with fabric can be highly challenging when you work on your own! Nevertheless, the result came as cozy as expected: a winter-wonderland taste and a welcoming atmosphere provide the perfect setting for a good book reading and a cup of tea. Enjoy this Tuscany country house interior preview!

The choice of the fabric came not by chance: this specific pattern is known worldwide as "Toile du Jouy" and, as the name suggests, has something to do with France. Toile de Jouy, (French: “fabric of Jouy”, ), also called Jouy Print, was a cotton or linen fabric printed with designs of landscapes and figures for which the 18th-century factory of Jouy-en-Josas, near Versailles, Paris, was famous. The pattern portion consists of a single color, most often black, dark red, or blue. Greens, browns, and magenta toile patterns are less common, but not unheard of. Toile is most associated with fabrics (curtains and upholstery in particular, especially chintz), though toile wallpaper is also popular.

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. English printed cottons of similar subjects (such as those of Old Ford, c. 1760–80) had a parallel development and achieved standards as high as Jouy; the term toile de Jouy has come to be used loosely for the Jouy type of printed cottons produced in England and at other French factories.

Toiles were very popular during the Colonial Era in the United States and are highly associated with preservationist towns and historical areas such as Colonial Williamsburg. When Williamsburg saw a resurgence in popularity in the 1930s, so did toiles, as they did again in the 1970s in celebration of the United States Bicentennial. Many fabric and wallpaper companies, such as Timorous Beasties, have continued the trend.

Although it has been continuously produced since then, Toile experienced a marked upsurge in popularity around the year 2000. Previously only a decorating design, designers have been recently experimenting with toile-patterned apparel as well, although toile-patterned shirts were widely worn in the 1970s. Toile can also be used on teapots, beddings, clothing, etc. In upper-class (primarily American, but also northern European) society, toile is often seen on dresses or aprons used at such events as country-themed garden parties or tea parties.


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