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Toile de Jouy

History of Toile de Jouy


Towards the end of the Great Century (the seventeenth) in all of Europe's courts and particularly in that of Louis XIV in Versailles the fashion was for cotton fabrics (toiles) printed in brilliant colours and imported from Asia. In clothing as in furniture, the popularity of these "Indian" fabrics was such that the trading of them was strictly regulated at first, before the trading was made more liberal by Louis XV.
Oberkampf installed his factory in Jouy-en-Josas in 1760 and commenced with the manufacturing of his fabrics. Louis XVI gave him the prestigious and envious title of "Royal Manufacturer", however growing competition in the sector eventually forced Oberkampf to cease his production which resulted in the closure of the establishment in 1843.

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Traditional manufacturing on the frame


Traditional manufacturing on the frame and the gradual mechanization of printing techniques.
From the Indian imitation process of the early eighteenth century, the printing technique of the fabrics has gradually evolved to mechanized production on a massive scale. Thus, Oberkampfs manufacturing in Jouy-en-Josas used a wooden board frame, allowing full colour printing. The new technique of screen printing appeared later, which allowed very delicate designs to be printed on a large scale. It was the early scenes and characters that made Toile de Jouy so famous worldwide. Eventually, the plate was replaced by coiled copper to make the engraving. All of the daily production records were then beaten!

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Patterns of fabrics


The process of printing on the copper plate (1770) allowed for unprecedented precision and quality of new designs. The delicacy of "Indian" and "Persian" became unbeatable and we often forget that these floral polychromes represented the main fabrics made in Jouy at the time of Oberkampf! Canvasses also appeared with designs including charachters, animated compositions with a floral theme, literary, neoclassical, allegorical, pastoral, artistic, exotic or memorial. The designs were also done by famous painters such as the celebrated Jean-Baptiste Huet, whose creations often had an animal theme. They all contained themes that tell the history of ideas, knowledge and discovery that occurred during the Century of Enlightenment.

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Museum


The Toile de Jouy Museum
More details can be found by visiting the historical Toile de Jouy museum in Eglantine castle in the town of Jouy-en-Josas. The museum tells a detailed account of the history of Oberkampf's manufacture of Jouy fabrics. You can also delight at the sight of the rich collections and see many creations (Jouy and other manufacturers) and various other items such as costumes, samples, prints, drawings, curtains, bed coverings etc.

For more informations visit www.museedelatoiledejouy.fr.