It was all the rage at the end of the 18th century, it brought glory to French textiles, it made its creator famous, it decorated the most prestigious interiors, it inspired the greatest, it is a monument of heritage French…we are of course talking about the famous toile de Jouy. Le Lissier invites you to discover it more intimately and goes back in time a little…

Originally, a prohibition.

In the 17th century, France became infatuated with “indian” fabrics, these cotton fabrics printed with floral and colorful patterns from India. As imports cannot meet demand, imitation begins. Norman clothiers and Lyonnais silk makers did not see it that way and used their influence to the point of banning indiennage (printing technique) and finally indiennes. When the ban was lifted in 1759, the demand was present but the know-how was lost in France.

Christophe Philippe Oberkampf.

A Lutheran German from a family of dyers, he trained in Switzerland before joining a factory in Mulhouse renowned for manufacturing Indian cotton fabrics. He was called to Paris to take over a Gobelins workshop in 1759. It did not take long for him to transfer the factory to Jouy-en-Josas for several reasons. First of all, the city borders the Bièvre which provides water of a perfect composition for the treatment of canvases. On the other hand, it is close to Versailles and its court, a very strategic location for any entrepreneur of beautiful things. The beginnings are difficult but success does not take long to come. In 1783, the factory became royal and it was among the three most important French companies at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. During the lifetime of the man who became Baron Oberkampf, the Jouy factory prospered. Unfortunately, its successors will not be able to keep up with ever-increasing competition. It closed in 1843.

What is the toile de Jouy?

The name has long since fallen into the public domain and designates the emblematic French cotton canvas “with characters”. The toile de Jouy as it was initiated by Mr. Oberkampf is a cotton canvas, white or ecru, on which a monochrome pattern is printed, originally in gray, red or blue tones. These are the typical monochromes that we find in the Oberkampf editions of Le Lissier. The motifs are floral, very often illustrated with themes from mythology, pastorals, La Fontaine's fables, novels, children's games, major current events of the time... It is often said that the toile de Jouy is the first comic strip in history. Some of the greatest artists such as the royal painter Jean-Baptiste Huet created designs for the factory and thus contributed to its success.

Technique, quality, innovation and creativity.

Mr. Oberkampf's strength was to push the know-how he had acquired further. Originally, the technique of indiennage consisted of the application of wooden boards engraved with the pattern on the canvas. Frame printing guarantees the Jouy factory a precise reproduction of the pattern over the entire footage. Mr. Oberkampf has always been very keen to improve the quality of production. When he learned, in 1770, the use of engraved copper plates, he took up the technique again, which allowed him to offer finer and even more regular patterns. In 1797, he considerably expanded production capacity by introducing printing using intaglio-engraved copper scrolls. Some of these rolls are held by French manufacturers still in operation today. Three years later, it integrated machines that automatically engrave the rolls, saving considerable time. The production of the Jouy factory, through its quality and quantity, comes to rival the English textile industry by becoming the largest textile factory in Europe!
But pure technology is not his only field of study. He gives capital importance to the aesthetics of his paintings and therefore never stops looking for new processes. He sent his nephew to train with the chemist Claude-Louis Berthollet, which would greatly benefit the factory. In 1793, he used the newly discovered bleaching properties of chlorine to further whiten the canvases. In 1805, he launched the printing of white designs on a colored background using “mordants” which dissolved the color. You can see a pattern of this type on the Chérubin edition (fabric from Maison Charles Burger), one of the latest arrivals at Le Lissier. In 1810, his level discovered solid green which made it possible to print the color at once instead of making a passage in blue coupled with a passage in yellow.
Thanks to the know-how of other textile manufacturers who followed the innovations of Mr. Oberkampf, the production of toile de Jouy was able to continue while respecting the traditional method. Although it is no longer necessarily made in Jouy-en-Josas, it retains the name and deep identity.

The Toile de Jouy, timeless.

Since its glory days with Monsieur Oberkampf, toile de Jouy comes and goes with fashion, but it always comes back. We never tire of discovering it in the interiors of historic places or adapted to our wardrobe. Its codes have remained unchanged for more than two and a half centuries. Only the process, more industrialized, and the style, more colorful, bold and contemporary on new editions, have evolved. Whatever the case, it is this old-fashioned and refined spirit that always brings us back to the toile de Jouy. At Le Lissier, it has become a classic. You love it as much as we do, and we keep finding new ones to please you!

1 comment

Je suis propriétaire de la boutique BOHEME à SANARY-SUR-MER 83110
Je voudrais savoir si vous avez un agent pour présenter les collections dans ma région
Je vous remercie.

Kikou March 26, 2021

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