European Textiles, 1650-1900 (Copy)


Louis XI

1461 - 1483

Introduced silk weaving to Lyons. Settled Lucchese weavers in Lyon in 1466 (Orleans Ordinance, Lyon importers opposed). The Italians were moved to Tours in 1470. Their designs imitated the large, bold ones of Italy.

Charles VIII

1483 - 1498

Added privileges to Louis XI's French industry in Tours: exemption from tolls and foreign taxes, no entrance fee on the raw silk bought outside the kingdom. Tours superseded Lyons as a silk weaving center.

Louis XII

1498 - 1515

1498: promulgated the first articles of trade that concerned the working of silk in France. To become a master, candidate had to create a masterpiece in one of these four fabrics. Created master jurors to inspect workshops, regulated number of looms. Set a path (apprentice, worker, merchant).

1483: issued rules ofr the drapers' guild.

Francis I

1515 - 1547

Brought the Renaissance to France. Building of Fontainbleau required luxurious furnishing textiles. Francis realized that the economy of his kingdom suffered with the import of so many Spanish, Italian, Flemish fabrics. 1536 renewed his efforts to make Lyons a silk weaving center. Lyons was more receptive (Tours was prospering). Francis gave grants and privileges to some Italians to start shops. Duties were placed on oriental silks. Francis also tried to build up the wool industry and forbade Flemish serge.

Henri II

1547 - 1559

Other silk industry centers blossomed: Avignon (velvets, rivaled GEnoa), Nimes (silk stockings), Orange/Carpentras/Aix/Toulouse (silk manufacturing), etc.

Francis II

1559 - 1560

15 when he succeeded to the throne of France after the accidental death of his father King Henry II in 1559. He was only King for some 18 months before he died in December 1560, aged only 16.

Charles IX

1560 - 1574

Reign dominated by the Wars of Religion; St. Bartholemy's Day Massacre.

Catherine de Medici, his mother, was regent until 1563.

Henri III

1574 - 1589

High quality of Tours' silks, claimed they were as good as those of Naples, Lucca, Venice and less expensive.

Henri IV

1589 - 1610

1st monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty. Was Calvinist, became Catholic. 1598 Edict de Nantes (religious freedom to Protestants, ended civil war). Murdered by Catholic fanatic Ravaillac.

Beginning of a new era of general reorganization programs in a kingdom that was more and more unified and politically structured. Beginnings of nationalist feelings.

But the silks industry was weakened by the religious wars. Tours and Lyons faltered. But Italy flourished.

1599: ban on the import of silk, gold, silver fabrics. But ban lifted within a year because the Kingdom couldn't satisfy its own demands. Henri IV realized that France needed to be sufficient in raw material (sericulture near Lyons) and manufacturing (Lyons and Tours needed to make luxurious fabrics, not plain weaves as they had been doing).

1604: Tours instituted new designs in imitation of foreign style. Invented and held monopoly on moire

Lyons was slower to accept progress, but adopted the drawloom in 1604-5 and was able to compete with Tours and Paris in "sortes" (figured fabrics like those form Florenc,e Venice, Naples, Turkey).

Henri IV welcomed foreign craftsmen, introduced mulberry tree and the culture of silk-worms in Provence, banned import of foreign tapestries with forest-work or verdure ornament in preparation and to protect the early stages of a national industry of tapestry weaving. First Gobelins factory founded by two Flemish workers who were invited and protected by Henri IV: Francois de la Planche and Marc de Comans (wkshop closed in 1667 when the inheritors died, but their designs are indistinguishable--designs by common artists with wide ornamental borders). But Henri IV also realized that fine tapestries could no be produced by skilled weavers alone, that good designers were also necessary: granted the painter Henri Lerambert the position of 'painter of the royal tapestries' (d. 1609--successors were Guillaume Dumee and Laurent Huyot).

Campbell claims that Henri IV was the "true founder of the initial Gobelins manufactory with the Faubourg Saint-Marcel workshops. Henry's desire to establish a Flemish-led weaving industry in Paris gave rise to one of the most famous French manufactories": achieved pleasing balance based on cartoons by Raphael and Rubens.

Louis XIII

1610 - 1643

Est. Academie Francaise, participated in 30 yr war against Hapsburgs. Aided by Cardinal Richelieu after 1624 (before, regent by Marie de Medici, his mother).

Louis XIV

1643 - 1715

Maintained and encouraged luxury, gave rise to unprecedented consumption of silk. Depended on Italian drawings and patterns until innovative French masters such as Androuet du Cerceau, Daniel Marot, and Jean Berain imposed their own patterns.

But when Mazarin died in 1661, his wardrobe did not include a single garment made with French fabrics.

Embroidery: done by Charles le Brun, Jean Berain, Daniel Marot (strapwork). Semi-professional workships that serviced both royalty and the church (ie. Saint Joseph de la Providence, dir. by Madame de Montespan who later lived there). Men also embroidered; men wore the most embroidery. Women wore patterned silk with lace ornamentation, but bodices and camisoles were embroidered (ordered from Provence).


1661 - 1683

Louis XIV's Prime Minister. Came from a rich family of drapers from Reims.

1655: started a correspondence with merchants' provost in Lyons, set up strict regulations about defects in merchandise.

1663: Est. royal academy of painting and sculpture

1665: committee to create a plan for reforms (regulation, composition of fabrics-width, #warp, #reed, tension, limits on mistakes). Made it obligatory to set the manufacturer's name on each role with a lead seal; trade forbidden to merchants who had not completed mastership (latter was badly received by powerful merchants). Sent same proposal to Tours. Tours approved them in 1667, then Lyons, Orleans, Paris. Marseilles in 1472, Nimes 1682.

Recognized 3 categories: merchants, master weavers, master workers (could not produce and sell on their own account)--> led to violent uprising.

Purpose of the 1667 regulation was to create in each city a production restricted in its diversity but excellent in its quality (Lyons: velvets, glossy taffeta; Tours: pannes; Paris: gold brocade).

1671: Est. academy of architecture

By the end of his rule, his regulations were enforced but his production scheme wasn't (one industry with workers under one roof). Tours almost perished due to this excessive centralization. Lyons did better. Silk industry too sensitive to centralize.

Repeal, Edict of Nantes


Repeal, plus war, plus taxes gave rise to a crisis in the silk trade (many workers and masters were Protestant). Sent the workers of Tours and Lyons to England where they took the technique of lustering. Exodus of capable and specialized workers dealt a severe blow to the kingdom's silk industry.

But Lyon kept a monopoly on the silk trade; Tours and Nimes hit harder.

Also forbade the departure of Huguenots from France (mvt to and from France was suspended). (Leman was Huguenot; Dandridge, Garthwaire were English). Huguenots also led the Weavers' Company who led the campaign against the import of French silks and the anti-calico campaign of 1719-22. (N. Rothstein, V&A).

Louis XV

1715 - 1774

Silk industry in shambles at the end of Colbert/Louis XIV. But improved at the beginning of Louis XV's reign--flourishing period for French silks. Figured silks=faconne.

La Grande Fabrique = Lyon silk trade. Economic prosperity. Technological innovations (1717 Gacon: one drawboy, 1725 Reymond and Michel: mechanism to eliminate drawboys, Vaucuson). But Kay's shuttle and High's jenny were not well received.

Tours regained prosperity as well, but discrepency between the old regulations and the new situation: production still under Colbert regulations, high customs fees, not highest quality silk. Louis XV tried to provide incentives.

Paris not faring better; Saint-Maur-les Fosses manufactory closes in the 1750s.

But Nimes doing well w/ inexpensive productions.


1715 - 1723

In embroidery: fanciful types of ornamentation that point in the direction of the rococo. Large-scale somber-toned embroideries of the Louis XIV style were replaced by small-scale, delicately rendered, more subtle designs that were confined, in general, to borders.

Seven Years War

1756 - 1763

The Seven Years War was the first global conflict. It had two main fronts. The first, in Europe, was the hostility between Prussia and Austria, still simmering after the War of the Austrian Succession , which expanded through alliances to include all of Europe.

The second was the colonial rivalries between Britain, France and Spain, known in America as the French and Indian War, which begin in 1754 with conflict over control of the Ohio valley.

First Britain and Prussia formed an alliance (January 1756), followed by France and Austria, who had been traditional enemies. The fighting started with Frederick II of Prussia's invasion and defeat of Saxony (August-October 1756), although the main conflict did not start until the following year.


1774 - 1791

French Revolution


FR overthrew the economic order. Luxury industries (silk) the hardest hit. Workers' desire for revenge against the merchants' oligarchy.

1st R.

1792 - 1804

1st French Republic: Napoleon I.

Founded on 22 September 1792, by the newly established National Convention. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First French Empire in 1804 under Napoleon I. This period is characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the infamous Reign of Terror, the founding of the Directory and the Thermidorian Reaction, and finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power.

National Convention

1792 - 1795

Robespierre, Marat, Danton.

The Convention lasted for three years and came after the National Assembly and Legislative Assembly. The country was at war, and it seemed best to postpone the implementation of the new constitution until peace should be concluded. At the same time, as the Convention prolonged its powers, it extended them considerably in order to meet the pressing dangers which menaced the Republic.

Although it was a legislative assembly, it took over the executive power, entrusting it to its own members. This "confusion of powers", contrary to the philosophical theories – those of Montesquieu especially – which had inspired the Revolution at first, was one of the essential characteristics of the Convention. The series of exceptional measures by which that confusion of powers was created constitutes the "Revolutionary government" in the strict sense of the word, a government which was principally in vigour during the period called the "Reign of Terror". There is thus a distinction to be made, discussing the Convention, between these temporary expedients and those measures intended to be permanent.

The first years of the Convention were the height of the importance of the revolutionary political clubs such as the Jacobins and Cordeliers; the informally constituted Girondists, although past the peak of their power, were also an important factor. By the end of the Convention, most prominent members of all of these groups were dead, the bulk of them victims either of the Terror or of the Thermidorian Reaction that brought the Terror to an end.


1795 - 1799

2nd to last stage of the French Revolution; 5 Directeurs held power.

With the establishment of the Directory, the Revolution seemed on the verge of ending. The nation was tired of the violence of the Terror and needed time to recover. Those who wished to restore Louis XVIII of France and the Ancien Régime and those who would have renewed the Reign of Terror were insignificant in number. The possibility of foreign interference had vanished with the failure of the First Coalition. Nevertheless, the four years of the Directory were a time of chronic disquiet and the late atrocities had made goodwill between parties impossible. The same instinct of self-preservation which had led the members of the Convention to claim so large a part in the new legislature and the whole of the Directoire impelled them to keep their predominance.

**Stability and luxury returned, work for Lyons (3/4 looms for unicolored taffeta). Noble fabrics limited and desitned for Spanish colonies, Russia, Germany.


1799 - 1804

During this period, Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul had established himself as the head of a more conservative, authoritarian, autocratic, and centralized republican government in France while not declaring himself head of state. Nevertheless, due to the long-lasting institutions established during these years, Robert B. Holtman has called the Consulate "one of the most important periods of all French history."

**Napoleon went to battle against transparent, low-necked, clinging dresses, exotic fabrics. Every man and woman w/ an official position in the Consulate (and then Empire) had to dress in silks from Lyons and change outfits as often as possible. Imposed these rules on dignitaries and family who inherited a kingdom or dukedom. Huge stimulus to Lyons during the empire. Napoleon only granted favors to Lyon, not to Tours despite its reclamations.

1st E.

1804 - 1815

1st French Empire: Napoleon I.

Napoleonic wars; Napoleonic code. Napoleon abdicated in 11 April 1814. The Empire was briefly restored during the Hundred Days period in 1815 until Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. It was followed by the restored monarchy of the House of Bourbon.


1815 - 1830

Bourbon Restoration: Louis XVIII (1814-1824); Charles X (1824-1830)

A coalition of European powers restored by arms the monarchy to the heirs of the House of Bourbon, who once again became possessors of the Kingdom of France. The Bourbon Restoration existed from (about) 6 April 1814 until the popular uprisings of the July Revolution of 1830, excepting the interval of the "Hundred Days",[a] less than a full year into the Restoration, when the Bourbon monarchy again had made themselves so unpopular with the general population of France that the family had to once more flee Paris and France to Ghent ahead of exploding civil disorders and collapsing civil authority.

The new Bourbon regime was, however, a constitutional monarchy, unlike the Ancien Régime, which was absolute, so it had some limits on its abilities to repress the population at large. The period was characterized by a sharp conservative reaction and the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic Church as a power in French politics,[2] and consequent minor but consistent occurrences of civil unrest and disturbances,[3] though not as much in the hearts of the people, many of whom retained the new, more liberal viewpoints.

July M.

1830 - 1848

July Monarchy

A period of liberal constitutional monarchy in France under King Louis-Philippe starting with the July Revolution (or Three Glorious Days) of 1830 and ending with the Revolution of 1848. It began with the overthrow of the conservative government of Charles X and his senior line of the House of Bourbon. Louis-Philippe, a member of the traditionally more liberal Orléans branch of the House of Bourbon, proclaimed himself roi des Français ("King of the French") rather than roi de France ("King of France"), emphasizing the popular origins of his reign. The new regime's ideal was explicated by Louis-Philippe's famous statement in January 1831: "We will attempt to remain in a juste milieu (the just middle), in an equal distance from the excesses of popular power and the abuses of royal power."[1]

1848 Revolution


The 1848 Revolution in France was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France, the February revolution ended the Orleans monarchy (1830–1848) and led to the creation of the French Second Republic. The February Revolution was really the belated second phase of the Revolution of 1830. The Revolution of 1830, also called the July Revolution, was the event that had brought Louis-Philippe of Orleans to the throne of France as a constitutional monarchy. So these two phases of the same uprising bracketed the Orleanist "Bourgeois Monarchy" at the beginning as well as at the end of its eighteen year reign in France. Clearly, the July Revolution and the resultant Orleanist compromise were not successful in resolving the underlying problems with French society. The problems that had faced the government in 1848 were the same problems that had faced the government in 1830, except that in 1848 those problems had grown much worse.

2nd Republic

1848 - 1852

The republican government of France between the 1848 Revolution and the coup by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte which initiated the Second Empire. It officially adopted the motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. The Second Republic witnessed the tension between the "Social and Democratic Republic" (French: la République démocratique et sociale) and a liberal form of Republic, which exploded during the June Days Uprising of 1848.

2nd E.

1852 - 1870

Second French Empire: Napoleon III, Empress Eugenie

Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.

Eugenie: fashions were extravagant and lavishly embellished, but with the exceptions of men's uniforms and other ceremonial costumes, the decorations of fabrics were those of lace or accessory objects, instead of embroidery stitches. The one exception was whitework techniques, in emulation of Marie-Antoinette. (for cuffs, collars, hems, handkerchiefs, linens).

Empress Eugenie

3rd Republic

1870 - 1940

Adolphe Tiers (1871-1873); Albert Lebrun (1932-1940).

Maurice Larkin (2002) argued that political France of the Third Republic was sharply polarized. On the left marched democratic France, heir to the French Revolution and fully assured of the power of reason and knowledge to create a better future for all Frenchmen and all mankind. On the right stood conservative France, rooted in the peasantry, the Church and the army, and skeptical about "progress" unless guided by traditional elites.[1] Adolphe Thiers called republicanism in the 1870s "the form of government that divides France least". The Third Republic endured seventy years, making it the longest lasting government in France since the collapse of the Ancien Régime in the French Revolution of 1789.

English politics

William III + Mary II

1689 - 1702

Queen Anne

1702 - 1714

George I

1714 - 1727

George II

1727 - 1760

George III

1760 - 1820

George IV regency

1811 - 1820

George IV

1820 - 1830

William IV

1830 - 1837

1818 Maries Adelaide

Queen Victoria

1837 - 1901

Mobilier National

Garde-Meuble de la Couronne

1663 - 1797

C’est en 1663 que Louis XIV et Colbert ordonnent l’institution du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, avec un double souci, celui de la gloire et celui de la gestion patrimoniale.

Gédéon Berbier du Mets se voit le premier confier la charge de directeur, avec le titre de « Contrôleur général des meubles de la Couronne ».

Le Garde-Meuble eut longtemps l’humeur vagabonde… Installé dès sa réorganisation par Colbert, à l’hôtel du Petit Bourbon jusqu’en 1758, il a par la suite élu domicile, entre autre lieux, à l’hôtel de Conti (1758-1768) et rue Bergère (1825). Il est depuis 1937 sur les anciens jardins de la manufacture des Gobelins.

Garde-Meuble des consuls

1800 - 1804

Resurrection by Napoleon. Used to refurnish the Tuileries (Jacob, Le Vacher, Germain et Roudier, Cartier, Bellanger for the fabric (taffetas, gourgourans) and carpets. Then the furnishings for St. Cloud: used the old furniture from the Garde-Meuble. But ordered silks from Pernon in Lyon.

Last Lyon silk order in 1792; 1st new order in 1802 for St. Cloud. Only ordered w/ Pernon until 1806. But it was slow to use only one person. Solution: used old silks from the Garde-Meuble (lampas broche from Marie-Antoinette in Versailles was placed in a Salon at Saint-Could). Question of money, but also taste: Napoleon and Josephine like Louis XVI and XV.

Mobilier imperial

1805 - 1870

1804 : transformation en Mobilier impérial. Napoléon Ier développe une vaste politique de remeublement des palais.

Première Restauration : réapprovisionnement des magasins.

1870, chute du Second Empire : le Mobilier impérial devient Mobilier national, dispersion des collections entre les différents ministères et administrations. Incendies des Tuileries et de Saint-Cloud, aggravant encore la situation.

1806: Pernon shares the order for Versailles with other Lyonnais manufacturers (Grand, Bissardon, Cousin, Bony). But financial crisis in Lyon in 1810 and allots 2 million for Lyon. Between 1811 and 1813 more than 80 km of Lyon silk are sent to Paris for Versailles. By 1813, almost all the palaces are furnished. Napoleon personally preoccupied himself with the interiors and furnishings of his homes and palaces.

Lecoulteux was in charge of St-Cloud, Versailles, Trainon, Compiegne, Rambouillet; Henri Beyle (Stendhal!) of Tuileries, Fontainebleau, Bagatelle, Mousseaux.

Mobilier national

1870 - 2011

Manufacture des Gobelins, la Manufacture de Beauvais, la Manufacture nationale de la Savonnerie de Lodève et les Ateliers nationaux de dentelle du Puy et d'Alençon.

1870, chute du Second Empire : le Mobilier impérial devient Mobilier national, dispersion des collections entre les différents ministères et administrations. Incendies des Tuileries et de Saint-Cloud, aggravant encore la situation.

1893, 27 juillet : loi de la IIIe République imposant la rédaction d’un nouvel inventaire des meubles présents dans les réserves.

1901, 24 février : décret qui affecte au musée du Louvre une partie des collections et pièces rares, réunies par Williamson dans le musée du Garde-Meuble.

Styles + Ideas


1600 - 1720

Style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music. The style started around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe.

Descartes, Discours de la Methode


Restated the importance of order and unity in the world of thought.



Claude Audran and Christophe Huet designed singeries, came out of Chinoiserie

EU Porcelain


Bottger discovers the secret to true porcelain in Dresden. French stole his secrets.


1720 - 1785

Baroque artists give up symmetry and become more playful. In tune with the excesses of Louis XV's reign. Ended with the critiques by Voltaire and Blondel of the superficiality beginning in the 1760s. Gave way to Jacques Louis David's neoclassicism.

Artists: Watteau, Boucher, Fragonard, de la Tour, Vigee le Brun

Discovery Pompeii, Herculaneum


First real excavations in 1760s; Book "Antiquity of Athens" (1762). 1764 Horace Walpole wrote from Paris, "Everything must be a la Grecque, accordingly the lace on their waistcoats is copied from a frieze."

Diderot, Encyclopedia


Diderot's Encyclopedia begins publishing in 1751.

Sets off scientific mania towards true naturalism (see in Lace)


1765 - 1800

(aka "Retour a l'Antique")

European Neoclassicism in the visual arts began c. 1765 in opposition to the then-dominant Baroque and Rococo styles. Rococo architecture emphasizes grace, ornamentation and asymmetry; Neoclassical architecture is based on the principles of simplicity and symmetry, which were seen as virtues of the arts of Rome and Ancient Greece, and were more immediately drawn from 16th century Renaissance Classicism.

First phase called "Louis XVI" style (2nd phase under Napoleon called "Empire Style"

Artists: Jean-Louis David, Ingres, Canova.

Empire Style

1804 - 1830

Empire style promoted by Napoleon and Josephine and their architects was a combination of neoclassical designs coupled with Napoleonic symbols such as bees, laurel wreaths, initial N's, and egyptiennerie. Dugourc embroidery for his palaces and entourage. Official costumes were full of raised embroidery motifs; sumptuous embroidered muslin gowns for coronation of Nap (Josephine's had gold embroidery---the style was lightweight sheer open-weave fabrics with heavy gold embroidery).

Marie Louise (Nap's second wife in 1810) was not a fashion innovator like Josephine, but a skilled needleworker.

Josephine's coronation dress

J's coronation shoes!

Dugourc Panel

Arab influence


Gothic was moribund, the Renaissance influence declined before Arab models: Moorish, Persian, Turkish. Owen Jones and the Alhambra style shown at the 1851 Exhibition.



Opening of Japan-Europe trade. 1862 Universal Exposition in London, display of Japanese objects. See Godwin, Dresser, Whistler.

Stylistic Developments

England, 17th c.

1600 - 1700

England, 17th c.
Linen canvas with wool flock

This is one of a group of 12 textile panels now in the V&A's collection that would have been used, like wallpaper, to decorate the walls of a room. Each panel was nailed in place, probably to battens fixed to the wall, and the nails concealed with braid or fringe. The hanging is made of linen canvas, printed with brown and blue wool flock on a gold ground. Flock printing - applying wool fibre in a powder-like form to another fabric by means of an adhesive - was intended to imitate expensive and desirable textiles like velvet. The design of this example derives from a contemporary voided velvet, and, as the many surviving fragments show, was a very popular cheaper substitute for more expensive wall hangings.

Silk velvet, Genoa

1650 - 1700

Silk velvet with cut and uncut pile

Velvet is a type of fabric with a raised pile surface, created during weaving with an extra warp. The loops of the pile may be cut or left uncut, or both, as in this case, and it can be woven in different fibres to suit its purpose. Velvet was extensively used in the later 17th century for furnishing, both in silk and woolen pile. This velvet has a silk pile, defining an exuberant scrolling floral pattern in late Baroque style.

Silk Damask, Italy

1680 - 1690

Italy, c. 1680-1690

232 yards of this Italian crimson silk damask were bought in 1699 for furnishing state rooms for King William III in Hampton Court Palace. This fragment was taken from the walls of the robing closet. Its design shows stylized acanthus leaves. Styles in furnishing textiles changed more slowly than those for fashionable dress, and this pattern was chosen for other grand furnishing schemes well into the 18th century.

The English silk industry was expanding rapidly in the later 17th century, but the majority of its production was dress rather than furnishing fabrics, and high quality furnishing silks continued to be imported from Italy, as they had been for centuries.

Silk damask, brocade and twill

1685 - 1700

Lyons or Spitalfields

Object Type
This length of silk furnishing fabric has been woven with a pattern simulating a three-dimensional swagged valance. In a clever optical effect the valance appears to be hung with tassels and looped cords, and to be draped over a damask ground.

Design & Designing
The pattern in this silk has a mirror repeat, and this panel would have been hung vertically with other panels to form a continuous line of swags. Such a design could have been used for bed hangings, but this piece has traces of glue along its sides and lower edge, indicating it was probably attached to a wall.

A previous owner of the silk believed that it was made by Huguenot silk weavers in Ireland. It is almost certainly not Irish because there is no evidence of a silk industry in Ireland in this period which mught have produced a silk of such quality. However, it is also possible that it could be English. However, there are similarly no English silks known of this date, with firm provenance, that are of such high quality, and it is more likely to have been woven in France. Such silks were certainly used in England and Ireland.

Silk brocade


Late baroque patter; Point repeat in late baroque pattern, brocaded in polychrome silks and silver gilt thread

Brocaded silk

1730 - 1735

Textile panel, brocaded silk, Lyon

This silk panel combines the most expensive of materials with the most complex of weaving techniques. It is a brocaded silk which makes use of polychrome silk and real silver thread to create the pattern on a greenish ground. The technique of brocading allowed different colours to be introduced into the pattern of a fabric in specific, sometimes very small areas. It was laborious work for the weaver. This is probably a French silk because its width conforms to the regulations laid down by the guild of silk weavers (Grande Fabrique) which attempted to control the quality of all products made in the city of Lyon.

The style of design is often associated with an innovative designer called Jean Revel (1684—1751) who is credited with introducing motifs that were more naturalistic than those in previous silk design. His ideas were probably the result of contact with the tapestry workshops at the Manufacture Royale des Gobelins in Paris. Luxuriant foliage was a hallmark of many tapestry borders and his innovation was to find a way of achieving similar effects in a different form of weaving.

Brocaded silk


Rococo fabric (dress from later as it was reused). Brocaded silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread, silk fringe, hand-woven, hand-braided and hand-sewn

This elegant ensemble illustrates how valuable silk fabrics were reused in the 18th century. The densely patterned silk brocade dates from the late 1730s and characterizes the naturalistic designs of subtly shaded fruits and flowers popular during that decade.

It is possible that the first gown made from this silk was a mantua. In the late 1760s, the gown was unpicked and remade into the more fashionable sack-back style, with loose pleated back and curvilinear ruffles on the sleeves. The new sack back was trimmed with the latest fashion in fringe. Even though added some 30 years later, the new fringe of looped silk matches the colours of the brocade very closely. This suggests that it was specially ordered from the lace supplier (who also made braid trimming) to harmonise with and update the 1730s silk.

Woven silk

1735 - 1740

Rococo pattern for woven silk. Lyon, patterned silk.

This silk panel combines the most expensive of materials with the most complex of weaving techniques. It is a brocaded silk which makes use of polychrome silk and real silver thread to create the pattern. The technique of brocading allowed different colours to be introduced into the pattern of a fabric in specific, sometimes very small areas. It was laborious work for the weaver. This is probably a French silk because its width conforms to the regulations laid down by the guild of silk weavers (Grande Fabrique) which attempted to control the composition and quality of all products made in the city.

The style of design is often associated with an innovative designer called Jean Revel (1684—1751) who is credited with introducing motifs that were more naturalistic than those in previous silk design. His ideas were probably the result of contact with the tapestry workshops at the Manufacture Royale des Gobelins in Paris. Luxuriant foliage was a hallmark of many tapestry borders and his innovation was to find a way of achieving similar effects in a different form of weaving.

Waistcoat, Embroidered

1735 - 1745

Late baroque, England, Silk, silk thread, hand-sewn and hand-embroidered

A combination of silk and chenille threads in a variety of colours creates a sumptuous embroidered design on this waistcoat. Chenille was a type of thread produced with pile protruding from all sides. Chenille is French for ‘caterpillar’, a name that accurately describes its velvety texture. It was much used in embroidery and woven fabrics in the 18th century, adding texture and depth to designs.

On this waistcoat, the chenille threads graduate in shade from light to dark green on the leaves and white through pink to dark red on the flowers, giving each a three-dimensional quality. The arrangement of the embroidery covering the whole of the waistcoat and the large scale of the pattern are typical of Baroque design.


1740 - 1745

Mantua, England, Rococo; Ribbed silk with silver thread embroidery, couched and worked in satin stitch

This is a magnificent example of English court dress of the mid-18th century. It would have been worn by a woman of aristocratic birth for court events involving the royal family. The style of this mantua was perfectly suited for maximum display of wealth and art; this example contains almost 10lb weight of silver thread worked in an elaborate 'Tree of Life' Design. The train is signed 'Rec'd of Mdme Leconte by me Magd. Giles'. The name Leconte has been associated with Huguenot embroideresses working in London between 1710 and 1746. The Huguenots were French Protestants who, following the repressive measures against them that the Catholic monarch Louis XIV of France restarted in 1685, emigrated to Britain and elsewhere.

Silk, brocaded


Late baroque style, England, Silk, brocaded with silk, silver thread and linen, lined with wool, hand-sewn

This coat and waistcoat illustrate formal daywear for men in the 1740s. The fabric of the coat is a rich shot green and black silk. By the 1740s the waistcoat is shorter in length than the coat. It is made of yellow silk brocaded with coloured silk and silver threads. Comprised of large flowers and leaves densely covering the fabric, the brocaded pattern is typical of Late Baroque design. The coat is collarless. It fits tightly to the body, but has very full skirts pleated to the sides at the hip. The sleeve cuffs are wide, reaching about half way to the elbow. Typical of the early 18th century, the waistcoat is also sleeved, although this style was beginning to go out of fashion by the 1740s.

Textile Laws

"Justaucorps a brevet"


Three-piece suit for men of the gilet, jacket, breeches covered with opulent needlework, gold and silver embroidery. Only a select elite were allowed to wear it.

Colbert statutes


Regulated and organized textile industry in Tours, Lyon, Orleans, Paris. 3 categories (merchants, master weavers, master workers). Restricted diversity but overlooked excellence in quality.

Colbert dye regulation


Regulated the trade of dye in France; made to protect Van Robais' colors, especially his black.

Regulation against copying


"forbidden directly or indirectly or in any ways or means possible, to lift or copy a design from old or recent fabrics." Pirating or copying by foreign countries greatly preoccupied the authorities.

UK prohibits French silks


UK prohibits French silks but could still import Italian silks--many appeared in inventories.

Guild System Ends


Provided absolute freedom of work, allowed women in the trade. But old hierarchy restored in 1806 bc disoriented w/ lack of management.

NB reg. uniforms and bans mousselines


Brought back the old etiquette re: dressing abolished by the Rev: velvet and silk only for officials, "habit a la francaise" comes back. For women NB abolishes mousslines, too transparent, women seem naked, and low-cut dresses. Forbids the wearing of mousseline and order the destruction of everything that looks English.

NB didn't want boiserie panels, but walls covered in textiles. Wanted to save the silk industry.

Wants to furnish Tuileries quickly so digs into the Garde-Meube reserves (Louis XVI) that weren't sold. 1806-1807 begins ordering for Versailles and St-Cloud (Coural, Mobilier National and Musee Malmaison Cat.). But majority of the silks were never even installed.

Official declaration: change in dress


"The embroideries will be in gold, with a standard design for all the ranks, and it will be framed by a baguette pattern, the highest ranking officials will wear embroideries on the collar, cuffs, pockets, borders of the suit. The embroidery on the pockets will be decorated with three fleurs de lys."

The decree created a need for new embroidery designs. Louis Lafitte made a series of engravings of embroidery for court garments.

(see p. 106, French Textiles for picture)

Textile Designs

Baroque silk

1600 - 1700

Large, bold, woven on the scale of baroque furniture. Brocades and damasks showed formal floral motifs.

Patterns were smaller in scale (but still floral) towards the end of the century.

Silk fabrics

1700 - 1789

Real infatuation for silk fabrics; manufactories sprang up, France called "satin country", orders came from all over Europe. Lyon's golden age! (until the Revolution). More than 200+ kinds of fabric were manufactured there. Best designers in Lyon and taste at its highest leve.

But this ostentatious prosperity masked great poverty: workers had misery wages, war brought on misery, court in mourning, fashion capricious. Merchants cut orders, halved wages. Merchants had too much power: workers could not emigrate, merchants manipulated the market as they pleased (400 Lyons merchants).

Tours: in precarious situation, but semblance of prosperity; Nimes: substantial growth. Paris: gauze: Aix: GEnoa velvets; Montepllier: silk hosiery; N. France: wool cloth.

Lace patterns


Gave way to large, naturalistic floral patterns

Bizarre silks

1700 - 1730

Bizarre and lace-pattern silks arose at the same time in Lyon. No specific artistic personality identified with either trend. Lyons excelled at these two patterns.,0

"Ondulant" design


This "ondulant" design appeared in the 1730s and 40s and was one of the great successes of the Lyon silk production.

Attributed to Philippe de Lasalle, frament of the fabric for Stanislas Leczinski, c.1760-1765 (@Prelle)

Points rentres


Technique that is credited to Jean Revel; at the very least, he mastered it and used it extensively.



Happy Chinese doing whimsical things.

Harmonized with the lightness and delicate charm of rococo pattern.

From Oliver Impey, "Chinoiserie": sassanian roundels-->pomegranate velvets where the flowers take precedence in the 14th c-->French velvets-->bizarre silks (1700-1730)-->1740s new chinoisrie patterns appear in European silks during teh great period of change in silk designs associated with Jean Revel at Lyons. These silks followed the ideas of the painters Huet and Pillement (both these designers worked for Jouy).

Calico, painted or printed with patterns, had been imported from Indian into Europe by the Portuguese in the 16th c. and could be found in England. Innovated w/ white grounds upon which colorful flowers were placed. In 1662 fabrics were sent TO India to be copied (EU design, Indian production). 1670 so much chintz was being imported that it endangered the silk industries. France banned import of chintz in 1686, but this only increased the supplyy in England, for most of the chintz for France was re-exported from England, and in 1701 a ban was enacted in England. But could be, and was, evaded. Most of the Indian chintzes based on the 'Indian tree' design (great effect on silk as well). By Tudor times English needlework based on flowering and leafy tree on rockwork (//Indian chintz, Chinese patterns, Verdure tapestries of N. France). These European chintzes can be called chinoiserie.

Polychromy in fast bright colors on printed cotton possible by 1740
Chinoiserie scenes by Huet and Pillement appear by 1763
End of the century: confusion of styles, chinoiserie and classical

Coronation dress


Coronation dress becomes very lavish from 1750 onwards. Bear a strong resemblance to liturgical vestments. Phenomenon most pronounced under Napoleon I. Heavy use of embroidery. (M-A loved whitework, manufactured in Saint Quentin, Nancy, Elsewhere in the Lorraine--sheer ground fabric, so sometimes called lace--used for lappets, engageantes, intimate accessories).

Whitework engageantes

Paisley shawls

1775 - 1870

first shawls were embroidered.

1784: designs were block printed onto cotton neckerchifs @ Norwich
1792: Norwich weaver uses a flying shuttle to weave a single piece of cloth
1804: French start to weave shawls, become best designers for Jacquard shawls
1820: Paisley in Scotland led Norwich and Edinburgh (so good that they shipped imitation Kasmir shawls to India and Peria.
1850s-1860s: Peak of fashion, Ab Lincoln and other men wore then.

Designs were taken from Kashmir shawls, but a mix btw Kashmir and EU design. Colors were more somber and not as varied as Kashmir.

Refined floral


Dainty textiles with refined floral patterns

Classic motifs


Classic motifs inspired by the excavations at Pompeii (1749) and Herculaneum (1738)

Lyons School of Floral Painters

1800 - 1900

In 19th c. Lyons production and designers increased. Many talented artists: Simon Saint-Jean, Augustin Thierrat, Jean-Marie Regnier, Joanny Maisiat, Jean-Pierre Lays, Pierre-Adrien Chabal-Dussurgey, Jacques Martin, Adolphe-Louis Castex-Degrange, Francois Vernay.

They were both designers and painters.

In the 19th c., as Paris became more established, a large number of ateliers established themslves there. Lyonese manufacturers all placed agents in the capital. Pure creativey left Lyons, only the design workshops remained. Neglect of technological growth and increasing important to printed fabrics to the detriment of faconne.

Embroidery changes

1800 - 1820
  1. Needlework becomes a female occupation
  2. Industrialization and perfection of the embroidery machine toward 1835 resulted in the disappearance of the master embroiderer.

-->inferior designs -->arts and crafts, art nouveau revival

Girls were trained from childhood w/ samplers, pattern books

Not many embroidery machines in France until the Second Empire, but machine-made items were imported from Switzerland and England. Some superior-quality machine-made embroidery was executed under Napoleon III.

Accessories replace floral prints


Braids, passementeries, laces, ribbons, manipulations of the fabrics replace the light arabesque and all the floral designs that the designers no longer knew how to do.

Situation was recognized at the London Great Exhibition in 1851 and at the Paris Exhibition in 1855. Situation provoked awareness and contributed to reshaping the curriculum of the Beaux-Arts and the creation of an educational industrial art museum, the Musee Historique des Tissus.

Alsatian cotton


Alsatian cotton replaces faconne silk. The change of heart was caused by the lack of decorative imagination and bad taste displayed by the designers.

1881, 1834: workers strikes and revolts
1837: American panic
1848: revolution
--> all hampered the output of silk, detrimental to creativity and Lyons.



promulgated by Empress Eugenie in hommage to Marie-Antoinette.

Woven Silks

Beginning English silk industry


English silk industry had its origins in the production of ribbons and half silks woven in London from the 16th c. Enormous growth in the weaving of pure silks came in the 1650s, with the market helped by returning stability at the end of the Civil Wars and demand for consumer goods in the American Colonies. Extensive Huguenot contribution (arrive in England in the late 16th c. as refugees, migration throughout the 17th c).

Orders for Versailles


Lyon under control of the government, since the reforms of Henri IV, which had the consequence of the Colbert regulations of 1667. Despite the slow economy, Lyon succeeds thanks to good industrial organization (the invention by Dangon of the drawloom "metier a tire" helped spur "etoffes figurees" and overthrew Italian monopoly, gave birth to a French style (Revel, Ringuet). Big royal command for Versailles in 1666 affirmed the place of the Lyon silk industry.

Spitalfields Apex

1680 - 1770

Spitalfields aided by the prohibition of printed calicoes (1721), prohibition of imported French silks (1766) and 1773 Spitalfields Acts agreeing rates of pay industrial peace). At the end, the industry suffered financially from the fashion for smaller patterns and lighter fabrics. Although stability remained until 1824 (Free Trade reform brought the repeal of the Act of 1766 and Spitalfields Acts). Effective from 1826, the legislation had immediate and crippling results, with French silks flooding the market and the collapse of the English industry.

Garde-meuble stop ordering

1699 - 1730

War, famine, general misery means that the Garde-Meuble royal stops orders fabric from Lyons.



Rise in London silk industry prompts move from the city to Spitalfields in 1700. Lyon market was Spitalfields competition.


1706 - 1710

Earliest dated English designs are from James Leman, 1706-7. Elongated patterns, motifs both strange and familiar, different scale juxtaposed, elements of chinoiserie and japonaiserie. Strong reds and yellow (different types of metal thread).

James Leman, 1706-7

The design on the left depicts an outsize fantastical plant sprouting a variety of different types and colours of flowers and a range of leaves and fruit. There is a Chinoiserie style house in the distance. This design is dated March 18th 1706/7. This date reflects the Julian calendar dates when the year began on 25th March (Lady Day). The Gregorian calendar was not used in England until 1751.

James Leman, 1706/7

The design on the right in monochrome depicts huge luxuriant leaves of ferns, in the centre, behind which is a fruit-bearing branch and below which are huge flowers in a semi-circular shape from which emerge roots. This design is dated September 28th 1706.

James Leman was born in 1688 into a weaving family of Huguenot descent. In 1702 he was apprenticed to his father, Peter, and lived with his family in Stewart Street, Spitalfields in London. Leman's inscription on the design states that it is made for his father Peter Leman, showing that he drew it while still an apprentice.

This design is from an album that contains 97 designs for fine silk cloth. A constant supply of fashionable new designs from which to create new lines was required, so patternmakers and master weavers like Leman supplied a wide range of designs for different weavers. The album contains some of his work from the period 1706-1716.


1710 - 1720

Increasingly sophisticated work shows the more bizarre motifs retreating while the designs retain their strong sense of movement, various elements form interconnecting layers of increasing elaboration.

As the decade progressed, this tendency became more pronounced. The richer silks were luxuriant, with semi-naturalistic flowers entwined around gold scrolls on grounds of silver or gold. Lighter-weight silks had delicate floral sprigs, sometimes asymmetrical, sometimes enclosed between vertical stripes.

James Leman, 1711-2

The design on the left shows a central panel of swirling volutes in brown wash and decorated with a diaper effect on top of which are spiraling tendrils in purple watercolor. At either side of the sheet of paper are yellow stripes on which are yellow ochre volutes. This design is dated January 15th 1711/12. This date reflects the Julian calendar dates when the year began on 25th March (Lady Day). The Gregorian calendar was not used in England until 1751.

The design on the right is composed of vertical stripes in two different colours: the white ground alternating with yellow on which swirling pink plant stems with flowers and foliage are superimposed. This design is dated July 25th 1713.


1720 - 1734

More or less elaborate framework with a point (mirror) repeat, which gave an air of formality even to very light and delicate patterns. Most characteristic designs had lace-like pattern in the ground or heavily diapered scrolls, interwoven with leaves and flowers which grew larger and more naturalistic towards the end of the 1720s.

Dandridge, Spitalfields, 1718

Joseph Dandridge, Spitalfields, 1720

Dandridge, Spitalfields, 1720

1st Lyon order by GM


GM (maybe spurred on by the Prince de Conti who visited Lyon that year) orders the last big order of very expensive "brocards" before the Revolution (brocades with metallic threads).


1732 - 1742

Revolution in silk design in France brought totally new inspiration, designers turned away from surface texture to the depiction of 3D form. Revel introduced a method of shading (points rentres--tones of colors dovetailed in weaving). To show this to advantage, designs grew larger until they reached a massive scale in the yeas 1740-2. Colors were bold and set off by large areas of plain silk. (Garthwaite influenced by French designs of the 1730s).

Anna Maria Garthwaite was born in 1690 and became one of the leading pattern drawers in the English silk industry despite the likelihood that she did not receive the formal technical training usually considered necessary to take up such a profession. She produced as many as 80 commissioned designs a year, such as this one, for master weavers and mercers. She lived and worked in Spitalfields, London from about 1730 until her death in 1763. Her interest in natural form--and her talent for depicting it--characterized her designs throughout her professional life.

Garthwaite, Spitalfields, 1733

Garthwaite, 1736

Garthwaite, 1738

Garthwaite, 1740

Garthwaite, 1741

Lighter flowers

1742 - 1750

Design elements drawn to half scale or in a lighter style, forerunners of a totally new naturalism. The designs woven at Spitalfields achieved a particularly English interpretation of Rococo, with accurate rendering of botanic detail, flowers scattered across an open ground, usually in an asymmetrical arrangement, clear, true colors.

Towards the end of the century elaborate pattern grounds obscure clarity of design.

Garthwaite, 1742

Garthwaite, 1742

Garthwaite, 1745

Garthwaite, 1748

Garthwaite, 1748

Garthwaite, 1748

French Influence

1750 - 1770

return of French influence is apparent in English silk design of the 1750s and 60s. Flowers become stylized, combined with meandering trails of simulated fur, feathers, ribbons, lace (trompe l'oei effect); warp-printing (producing chine or 'clouded silks) was increasingly popular; great variety of weaves and types of silk and metal threads to set of patterns. Stiff, heavily patterned silks were suitable for fashions of the 1760s, but had subsequently to adapt fr an increasingly informal style of dressing.

Galy Gallien, 1762

This design is a preparatory technical drawing for a patterned silk. It acted as instructions for the weaver about how to tie up the threads on the loom and then weave in the pattern. It is one of a group of 1577 such designs commissioned by a silk manufacturing partnership active in Lyon, the most prestigious centre of the silk industry in Europe from the 1660s onwards.

The partnership was called L. Galy, Gallien et cie from 1761 until the beginning of 1771 when the senior partner Louis Galy retired. Louis Gallien continued the business under the name L. Gallien et cie into the late 1780s, by which time he was specialising in plain rather than patterned silks. It was one of Lyon’s 400 manufacturing concerns mid century and it kept good records, noting on the back of the designs the company name, the number of the design, the date, and minimal instructions on how it should be woven. Such information allowed the manufacturers to go back to the original design work if they received requests for a reweave of the design.

The inscription on the back reveals that this design was completed on 10 February 1762 and was no. 668 in the archive of L. Galy, Gallien et cie. The stamp reveals that it belonged to an early 20th-century designer who may have used it as inspiration for his own designs. The curvaceous pattern is typical of this decade in French silk production, and according to the instructions on the back would have been woven in a monochrome or cameo effect and contained metal threads.

Gallien, 1763

Gallien, 1765-1770



manufacture Prelle founded in 1752 (this was the birth of Pierre-Toussant Dechazelle who founded Prelle). Dechazelle studied under Donat Nonotte; in 1770 under Joseph Neyret (master of siks fabrics of gold and silver). At some point Dechazelle stops working, gives his drawings to Charles Cordier+M-J Lemire-->Chuard+Desfarges-->Antoine Lamy+Auguste Giraud-->Edouard Lamy+Gautier_Amee Prelle. After 1927 Aime Prelle is the sole director of the workshop.

Opens a branch in Paris in 1877. Although Prelle did both dresses+furnishings (indistinguishable until the 20th c.) it abandoned dress in 1880.


1770 - 1780

Motifs reduced further and further in scale, frequently combining with broad and narrow stripes. Taste for neoclassical style was met with tiny wraths, rosettes, ovals with formal sprigs; colors in 1770s were predominantly pastels.

Ham and Perigal pattern book, 1770-1780


1780 - 1795

Patterns became increasingly abstract. Stripes in dark colors dominate the pattern books for some years, but disappear by 1795. Last years of the 18th and early 19th c. saw little variation in the taste for small and subtle repeating patterns, given variety with metal threads or gauze weaves.

1786-1791, English; Silk vestings and handkerchief goods, Spitalfields (Maze and Steer)

"Lyon n'est plus"


"Lyon fit la guerre a la Liberte, Lyon n'est plus," decreed the Convetion on October 12th, 1793. After the end of Robespierre, Lyon had to wait until 1795 and the creation of the Directory to get work again.

Order from Spain came in, and things were looking better. But misery in Lyon was everwhere, and the almost 15,000 workers didn't think they would ever work gain.

But NB visits Lyon in June 1800 and promises that he will help the city. Revisits in 1802 w/ Josephine for 3 days (sees Dutilleu et Theoleyre). "Ils nous a donne la paix" reads a woven velvet banner re: the Peace of Amiens (brief, btw France and England). Napoleon also comes back in 1805.

1st Exposition


1st Exposition organized by Nicolas-Louis Francois de Neufchateau, minister of the Interior under the Directory, to showcase French products. Must only somewhat successful for French industrials. But two more held in 1801 (but absence of Lyonnais designers for the 1st, only silks from Tours; for the 2nd only Camille Pernon exposes).

Restauration Expos


Expositions in 1806, 1819, 1823, 1827; presented in the Louvre. Larger place of Lyon silks. Spotlight on the damas taille-douce (illusion of an engraving). See Prelle book. p. 105-7.

Spitalfields Collapse


Collapse of the industry in 1826 came before the recently introduced Jacquard loom was given the chance to show its capacity for elaborate, textured and large-patterned silks.

July M. Expos


1834, 1839, 1844, 1849 (Every 5 years); Explosion of exposers. Two major focuses: the Orient and the Church (rich textiles of gold and silver). For the Orient, new commerce in the 19th century; for the Church, the 1801 Concordat decreet that the manufacturers would furnish the robes (dlmatics, chasuble, pluvial and furniture textiles). 5-10% of Prelle's orders (under Lemire and then Lamy at this time) were for religious garments.

Corderier & Lemire, c. 1820. Dessus de Coussin (lamaps, satin, silk, frise gold). Orient-inspired

See also the "broche Pompadour" by Lemire, p. 128. Looks like boiserie with little peole on top of the rocaille.

Louis Dupre, Voyage a Athenes et Constantinople. Portrait de Michel Soutzo, prince de Moldavie, 1825. he's sitting on a divan whose cushions are covered with a similar Prelle textile!

Religious chasubles by Bissardon, see p. 124 Prelle. A little like this...

Joseph Bonnet creates a "manufacture"


Bonnet's "manufacture" united all the different stages of production (800 drawlooms, 900 weavers). The beginning of the distinct seperation between different kids of silk (silk for dress, monochrome silk, black silks, etc.).

Before this, just a difference between the "maitres marchands-fabricants" who put the product to work, made the drawing, colors, finance, commercialize and the "maitres tisseurs" who actually made the fabric in their factory.

1st Exposition international (London)


1851 London Crystal Palace International Exposition.

In Lyon: triumph of the neo-gothic. Appear beginning in 1835, then more after 1853 (1855 and 1867 big years for the church textiles and 1883 and 1905 big for furnishing)--but only 5-10% of the Prelle products during this time (but 27% during the two Universal Expositions in Paris 1855, 1867, 1855-67 neo-gothic apex in France w/ Viollet-le-Duc and Pugin in England). Prelle and Tassinari are inspired by the 14th-16th c. gothic. But colors, materials, and design are not a copy, nor a fad, but an artistic movement on its own.

See p. 140 Prelle.

Paris Expos


Paris: 1867, 1878, 1889

But crisis in the silk world.
1850: pebrine (disease of the silkworm), leads to rise in prices.
1860: manufacturers turn from the faconne to the uni (figured to plain) silks. Combine fibers to lower prices. Silk has become general consumption.
1880 protectionist policy doesn't help exports, rivals rise.
1882: financial crisis, lowers year ever for la Fabrique lyonnaise (production + exports)
1885: back up (new fabrics: luxe + bon marche)

Simon Saint-Jean, Offrande a la Vierge, 1842. Lamy & Giraud make a textile of the painting for the 1867 Paris Exposition.

Expo. Univ. 1900


Pars: Retrospective and beginning of Art Nouveau.

Salon du pavillon art nouveau, Bing, Exposition 1900.
Prelle manufacturer Les Iris (drawing by Colonna) for Bing's furniture and walls

Printed textiles



Indiennes: inexpensive, poor quality copies of Indian chintz printed in France with wood blocks in fugitive colors. Competition alarmed the French, led to the ban

1686-1759: ban

English calico

1676 - 1700

Ended in 1700 bc wool and silk industries became alarmed at the competition from Indian chintz and domestic copies. Prohibitions, like France, followed.

Ban: Toiles peintes

1687 - 1759

Claude Lepeletier, comptroller of finance, edict to destroy all blocks, prohibit sale of toiles peintes (Indian and French). But the demand for indiennes only increased, continued smuggling.

1686: ban, destruction of all printing blocks
1687: forbade sale of all printed cotton made at home or abroad

Edict of Nantes forced Protestant Huguenots engaged in chintz making (majority) to leave France. Severe blow to the infant printing business.

Relaxed after 1745, officially lifted in 1759. New printworks opened (ie. Jouy).

Ban: printing in England

1700 - 1774

1701: ban on imported Indian printed calicoes

1712, 1714: heavy duties on domestic printed cloth

1720: prohibition of English printed cotton (circumvented by printing on linen warp and cotton weft; 1736 Manchester Act to officially approve this)

Printers restricted to printing for export or using mixture fabrics such as cotton weft and linen warp for printing for the home market. Exceptions of fustian from the acts.

1774: prohibitions against printing all-cotton cloth removed (testimony to the growing power of Arkwright: his invention of an improved spinning frame resulted in a new trade in all-cotton English calico produced from his first spinning mill worked by water power, est. 1771). Leadership passed from London printers to firms est. near Lancashire cotton mills. Heavy duties from 1774-1881 (blue thread).

Can tell difference between French and English prints by the presence of three blue threads in the selvage of cotton cloth between 1774-1811.



Four young men founded Koechlin Schmalzer & Cie in Mulhouse, Alsace. By 1768 Mulhouse had 15 textile printing factories, 1787 they had 19. Along a trading route from Basel to the Lorraine. Sophisticated finishing techniques.

Printed shawls were produced to emulate kashmir woven ones (popular late 18th, early 19th c.)

Wesserling, Alsace, 1785-1795



Nantes: large work force, clean water. 1758: factories start to spring up; by 1785 there were 9 (1,200 workers).

Petitpierre workshop was the most important (textiles exported to Italy, Switzerland, Germany)

Style: more naive, scale does not take perspective into account, garden elements (proximity to England), ships (on a port), and exotic vegetation (things brought from ships). Individual vignettes rather than a whole, fear of open space (cram things in).

Nantes, 1760-1790

Petitpierre, 1805

Jouy Manufacture

1759 - 1843

Oberkampf (1738-1815) directed Jouy from 1760 until his death in 1815. Came from a family of Swiss Protestant dyers. First fabrics were printed floral woodblocks, ressemble their Indian cousins. 2nd technique, copperplate, was perfected in the 18th c. Oberkampf introduced it in 1770.

Oberkampf imported because he created a luxury cotton printing industry to rival England (the French didn't want to end the ban because they didn't want an inferior industry). The invention of Chlorine was important for Oberkampf (first invention, then Bertholet applies it to cotton; could do away with bleaching cotton in the sun. Cut down on time spent needed for finished fabrics).

Floral prints uses in-house designers; plate-print uses out-house designers such as Huet. But even when copperprinting took off, Oberkampf was still making floral block prints.

18th c. Jouy



As early as 1752 the engraved copperplate was adapted to continuous textile priting in Ireland, Oberkampf introduced it in 1770. At first the patterns were similar to woodcut, however they became more scenic in nature due to their close technical relationship to prints executed on paper.

One of the challenges was balanced designs that did not have jarring repeats. Dependent on print sources for design.

Designers: Pillemont (chinoiserie) and Huet (events)

Copperplate printed fabrics of the late 18th and early 19th c. were frequently used to depic or reflect upon contemporary events. See Huet. Jouy also incorporated rococo scrolls and garlands. But not only scenic, also floral prints continued (but become more local varieties rather than Indian chintz)

Jouy, Oberkampf, copperplate, 1785

Huet, Fall of the Bastille and Confirmation of the Constitution, Oberkampf, 1792



Perfected by Thomas Bell (English): changed the textile printing industry technically, economically, design-wise.
1797: Oberkampf introduced copper-roller printing in France: single machine could produce 5,000 yards/day. Print different colors at the same time. But certain design problems: breaks, not more than 20 inches.

Scenes on a ground with an endlessly repeating background become a design feature (but still imbalance and crowding).

Huet, "Paul et Virginie", 1802. Done with copper-rolling: design lacks space to breathe...

Intro. large floral wreaths


Large floral wreaths threaten to overwhelm the scenes. Increased massing of design elements that became a characteristic of the decorative arts in the Victorian era. Large flowers replace scenes.

Alsace, 1840

Floral textiles


Goal was to make the most realistic flowers possible and shade them as if 3D (see Charles Ruffly, p. 169 in French Textiles). The major market was not dress, but furnishing textiles.

Technical virtuosity also came into play with wood-block print on cut velvet!

England, 1850, block-printed cotton velveteen!




Whitework embroiders (Venice or provinces) realize that the technique of withdrawing threads from a woven cloth, covering the remaining ones with buttonhole stitches, and building patterns from teh gridlike formation could be taken a step further.

The foundation could be built "into the air" by constructing the gridlike network of threads on a temporrary support = reticella. But still used foundation, took threads out of cloth already woven. Only right-angles, very geometric designs.

Needle lace was a genteel activity, see pattern books dedicated to queens. This remained true until the end of the 17th c.

The geometric patterns of the16th make it hard to find the provenance of lace (Italian and French lace indistinguishable).

Punta in aria: no foundation material.

Late 16th century Reticella:

Punta in Aria:

Bobbin laces


Bobbin laces began at the same time as needle laces. Development occurred in Italy and Flanders at the same time. Evolved from the traditional craft of plaiting-weaving practiced by the corporations of passementiers, members of which were soon to demand for themselves the privilege of bobin lace manufacture.

Whereas needle lace was a genteel activity, bobbin lace was done by corporations. Technique was more difficult to master, required too many tools, evolved from passementerie. (Large corporation in the late 16th, early 17th century in Paris, Rouen, Le Puy, Aurillac).

Jacobean jacket edged in bobbin lace, c. 1610

Lace Differentiation


Portrait of Marie de Medicis in 1609 by Franz Pourbus II, she wears a lace collard with reticella technique from an Italian pattern book. The border of the collar, however, is punta in aria with flowers, daisies, fleurs de lys, free of geometrically restricting frame. It looks French ("dry perfection").

This is when we can began to start differentiating French and Italian lace.

Flemish: naive awkwardness
English: stiffness
Italy: highly stylized, sometimes crudely drawn
French: crisp elegance, graceful simplicity (esp. in the human and animal figures). But abstract laces are still impossible to find a provenance for.

Toulouse lace sumptuary law


Prohibition against wearing of laces (silk, gold, silver). Caused consternation in Le Puy. Rescinded.

Gros point

1650 - 1670

Heyday of Gros point (Venetian): scrolling Venetian designs, heavy fleurons and pomegranates, unending scrolls (French ones placed on other side of a median line).

Chigi Family, 17th c.

Repeal Sumptuary Law


Louis XIV recognized that sumptuary laws reduced artisans, wanted his subjects to wear passements and laces as long as they are manufactured and produced withint France.

Est. Royal lace Co.

1665 - 1685

Colbert wanted to make French lace rival Italy and Flanders. Centralized lace making, appoint civil servants, provide designs by ourt artists, offer tax incentives, free passage (no duty).

Established royal lace manufactories in August 1665. Designed eight cities for the "point de France": Le Quesnoy, Arras, Sedan, Reims, Chateau-Theirry, Loudun, Alencon, Aurillac.

Only Sedan and Alencon already had lace workers. Other cities joined: Bourges, La Fleche, Le Mans, Riom, Sens, Issoudun, Montargis, Beauvais, Auxerre.

Lace less financially viable after Colbert's death bc of changing fashion and declining economy. Alecon and Argentan lace continued to be manufactured throughout the 18th c., however.

Revocation of the Edict de Nantes in 1685 was a severe blow to the industry because many Huguenots were involved in the commerce and manufacture of lace. Left France to work elsewhere, took their skill with them.
18th c. Point d'Alencon

Many lace workers resented having to work for a manufactory. They were theoretically allowed to work on their own, but pressured to join.

point de France lace

1665 - 1680

In 1665 King's official painters designed resonsible for the design of the point de France laces, esp. Charles Le Brun. These laces had allusions to the king--sun, sunflowers, fleurs de lys, crowns (these elements disappear after 1680, leave room for less image-oriented compositions which may habe been designed by Jean Berain).

The Jean Berain laces are airier, naturalistically drawn elements, but what they gain in charm and understated elegance they lose in grandeur and sense of national sentiment.

Fashion abandoned point de France rapidly, even though large flounces continued to be used as furnishings (toilette tables) and on ecclesiastical garments. Brussels bobbin lace (ie. Angleterre lace) was the new fashion= less costly, made more quickly, more versatile (pleated, gathered, washed easily). But point de France retained an aura of prestige through the 18th c.

17th c. point de France

Jean Berain late 17th c. lace

point de rose/neige

1690 - 1720

accumulation of minute picots (small decorative loops), 2-3 layers high. Some were produced in France, others in Venice.

point de rose

point de neige

point de Sedan

1690 - 1720

placement of relief work in strategic locations on the motifs, increase plasticity instead of just underlining contours.

Motifs: large vases with naturalistic flowers, almost too large for the lace medium. Foreign influence.

Jean-Marc Nattier, Isabelle de Bourbon, 1745.

Mesh grounds


Maybe 20 years earlier. Appearance of true mesh ground in needle laces (bobbin laces w/ mesh grounds already known by this time, ie. a reseaux vs. a brides).

France reopened to imports


Even before Louis XIV's death in 1715, France had been reopened to foreign lace imports. Belgian laces (Brussels, Malines, Binche) had developed a characteristic style and technique easily recognizable by all. This was true of the French needle laces too, but no French bobbin lace (never were as good as Flemish).


1715 - 1730

During the Regence and early years of Louis XV, lace style was affected by the general movement away from contributed decors toward ever more naturalistic ones. Naturalistic is "improving" on nature, not faithful rendering on nature. Distributed elements into the most pleasing manmade combinations. Realistically drawn flowers, carnations, peonies, larger than the vase, huge pinecone shapes with minute flowers, Chinese pagodas smaller than the butterflies that surround them.

Also Chinese and Indo-Persian influence.

Valenciennes lace


Lace made in Valenciennes ever since 1644, however the city became French in 1678. Lace came into its own in 1740s: rigorously square mesh (not circular like Antwerp).

Square mesh, plaited on all sides. Rigorous grid against which realistically drawn elements were set off. Shift toward true naturalness; recognizable flowers (scientific mania after Diderot's Encyclopedie began in 1751)

18th c. Valenciennes lace

Blonde lace


Generic term for bobbin laces made out of gold, silver, or blonde-colored silk. (Paris, Caen, Rouen). Venetians sought to make competition to the French blondes. Blonde lace were the only fashionable kind at the end of the monarchy.

Quick to make because of their entwined, unplaited meshes and summarily drawn motifs. Chenille thread threaded around the contours of the motifs. Artificial flowers or ribbons sometimes inserted into their large-size meshes.

Few examples survive because they were fragile.

Adelaide wears Blonde lace, 1830

Mme de Pompadour's death


Decorative elements drawn from nature began to migrate from lace to embroidery. Mesh ground became the chief element against which spare, Japanese-like plum or cherry boughs were finely trace, adorned maybe with strings of pearl-shaped medallions.

Argentan, 1755

Tooth edge

1785 - 1815

Straight edges-->tooth edge. Then became rounded and eventually turned into broad scallops (better adapted to bobbin technique, especially Blonde laces with their large-scale flowers).

See pg. 138, French textiles

Required lace for court

1800 - 1812

Napoleon I required lace in court attire for men and women. Placed orders with Alencon for the trousseau of Marie Louise in 1810 (but she also patronized the Belgian industry). Alencon survived, but not Valenciennes.

Silk bobbin-lace industry was also holding up

Machine-made net


Machine-made net machines were imported from England in 1809. Production increased and prices fell, made product a cheap one, undesirable in the eyes of the public (1820s). Paradoxically, this development, combined with the renewed fashionableness of lace, ushered in an era of un-precedented prosperity for the handmade lace industry that was to last almost forty years.

Renaissance of lace

1820 - 1860

Especially after 1855, no aristocratic trousseau in Europe could be complete without Alencon lace (thanks to Lefebure). Alencon point could not be imitated by machines (Chantilly could). 1854 Empress Eugenie ordered a set composed of tiered flounces of Alencon lace, sleeve ruffles, shoulder bertha-->shown in Exposition Universelle in 1855).

Lorraine lace-workers responded quickly to demand and produced good quality laces at low prices.
Lille and Arras were also producing large quantities of "Lille a fond clair" (bobbin lace with a simple, unplaited ground and small motifs contoured with thicker thread--their extremely transparent look became fashionable).

Le Puy was the most important lace-making center: made rough Torchon, 16th c. revival Cluny, silk Chantilly, gold-thread lace, guipure lace of black mat silk thread used by matrons and widows.

1856 Empress Eugenie in Lace

Blonde Kashmir-style

1820 - 1830

Influence of Kashmir shawls, en vogue since the late 18th c. Blonde lace motifs in particular were often derived from Kshmir-style designs.

See p. 139, French textiles.

Auguste Lefebure

1834 - 1870

Most important and celebrated lace manufacturer in France. Established in Bayeux where his lace makers worked on silk Blonde laces, bobbin lace made out of flax or cotton (point de Bayeux), Alencon, Chantilly.

1855: receives the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor for his Chantilly products.

Lefebure and fils, 1867.

Historical references

1839 - 1842

At the Paris Exhibition of 1839 the house of Violard shows airier, pyramidal flower arrangements with numerous tendrils issuing from them as from a climbing vine. Juxtaposed with formal cartouches reminiscent of the Louis XIV era. Ushered in a period of uninhibited melange of decorative references to previous eras: pyramidal bouquets arranged in formal 17th c. fashion were composed w/ contemporary flowers (cabbage roses, lilacs, hydrangeas).

Chantilly lace

1840 - 1870

No longer made in Chantilly (workers beheaded during the Revolution). Normandy silk bobbin-lace industry took up the production of Chantilly lace in the 1830s, specifically Bayeux. Auguste Lefebure received gold medals for his Chantilly products.

But after 1870 lace became an "objet d'art", divorced form use. Put under glass rather than worn.

Railroad designs


Railroad introduced, captured the imagination. Chantilly shawls with railroad motifs, tunnels, etc.

But needle laces were more restrained. Alencon laces never shed their rigid and brittle elegance. Rarely fell into the excess of their bobbin counterparts and maintained a prestigious image.

Mechanical competition


Mechanical competition growing stronger: 1861 there were 2,020 mechanical looms in France. Valenciennes, Blonde, Chantilly laces were successfully imitated.


Aubusson Manufactory

1500 - 1789

The Aubusson tapestry manufacture of the 17th and 18th centuries managed to compete with the royal manufacture of Gobelins tapestry and the privileged position of Beauvais tapestry.

Tapestry manufacture at Aubusson, in the upper valley of the Creuse in central France, may have developed from looms in isolated family workshops established by Flemings that are noted in documents from the 16th century.

Typically Aubusson tapestries depended on engravings as a design source or the full-scale cartoons from which the low-warp tapestry-weavers worked. As with Flemish and Paris tapestries of the same time, figures were set against a conventional background of verdure, stylized foliage and vignettes of plants on which birds perch and from which issue glimpses of towers and towns.

17th c: Hunting scenes; religious subjects; secular subjects (history or lit. of antiquity).

1664: Colbert reorganizes Aubusson and Felletin factories. MRD or MRDB is the mark. Edict to Nantes: workers left workshops. 1743 and 1768 workshops set up for pile carpets (manufacture continues to this day). Zenith in the 1750s.

18th c: Country scenes, pastoral subjects, landscapes with animals, floral ornament, Story of Don Quixote, verdures with Flemish designs. Oudry (Hunts) and Boucher (Chinoiserie) were favored by Aubusson weavers; 1780 Chinese Landscapes by Pillement. Also copies of engravings.

But the expansion in the production and sale of furniture-covers did not succeed in averting economica and social difficulties which threatened the industry. The Revolution forced the Aubusson workshops to close their doors.

The town of Felletin is identified as the source from which came the Aubusson tapestries in the inventory of Charlotte d'Albret, duchess of Valentinois and widow of Cesare Borgia (1514).

Fantastic Landscape Woven at Aubusson, ca. 1725

Simon Vouet


Return of Vouet to France (influence on painting and tapestry-style); teacher of Charles Le Brun. Tapestries woven after designs by Vouet are distinguished by the breadth and airiness of their composition and liveliness and gaiety of their coloring. Superb borders, executed in monochrome (inspired by the stucco sculpture of Jacques Sarrazin). La Planche and Comans reproduced Vouet paintings for various castles.

Story of Rinaldo and Arminda.

Fouquet est. Maincy


Fouquet est. tapestry-workshop in the village of Maincy to create tapestries to decorate Vaux-le-Vicomte. French and Flemish high-warp weavers established in 1658. In 1660 Fouquet obtained letters from Louis XIV conferring on Maincy the status of a privileged factory. Maincy factory placed under the artistic direction of Charles Le Brun (prepared him for his role at Versailles and Gobelins). Fouquet falls from power in 1661 and the looms, designs, and tapestries were transferred to the Gobelins--the work continued, without interruption, on behalf of Louis XIV.

Gobelins est.

1662 - 1694

1667: Colbert makes the Gobelins a royal factory for the funishings of the Crown.

In 1662, there were 4 workshops at the Gobelins (1-3 produced high-warp tapestries, 1 for low-warp). ~250 weavers from the workshops of the Louvre, Fb St-Marcel, Fb St-Germain, Maincy; foreigners from Brussels, Antwerp. Weavers and families housed within the enclosure, same privileges as those granted under Henri IV (raw materials supplied by the King, but free to accept orders from private).

1663: Charles Le Brun appointed to organize the whole factory. Wanted cartoons to be finished oil-paintings (not tempera with summary colors). Was rigid with drawing and copying, but not with colors (weavers could interprete the colors as they wished). Le Brun's designs for Gobelins were flattery ("The Story of Alexander" (1664-80) "The Story of the King" (1665--)

Colbert commissioned 1662 tapestry from Gobelins under Charles Le Brun. Elements, "Water"

Est. Beauvais

1664 - 1789

The Beauvais tapestry manufacture was the second in importance, after the Gobelins tapestry, of French tapestry workshops that were established under the general direction of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the finance minister of Louis XIV. Whereas the royal Gobelins manufacture executed tapestries for the royal residences and for ambassadorial gifts, the manufacture at Beauvais always remained a private enterprise.

Beauvais specialised in low-warp tapestry weaving, though the letters patent of 1664, authorising the company and offering royal protection, left the field open for the production of high-warp tapestry as well.

The first entrepreneur, Louis Hinard (dir. 1664-1684, arrested for debts!), a native of Beauvais who had already established workshops in Paris, produced unambitious floral and foliate tapestries called verdures and landscape tapestries, which are known through chance notations in royal accounts.

Succeeded by Philippe Behagle (dir. 1684-1705), merchant tapestry-weaver. 21 years of director ship. New vigor.

The great period of Beauvais tapestry begins with the arrival of Jean-Baptiste Oudry (dir. 1726-1755) replacing the unsatisfactory Jacques Duplessis.

Oudry was simultaneously inspector of the works at Gobelins. At Beauvais he reorganized the training of the young workers and turned out designs and constantly renewed borders: the New Hunts, the suite of Country Pleasures, the hangings illustrating Molière's comedies, a renewed suite of perennially popular Metamorphoses. Sets of tapestry covers for seat furniture were introduced, and in September 1737 it was decided that the King of France should purchase two sets of tapestry each year, for 10,000 livres, for gifts to foreign ministers, an advertisement of French hegemony in the field of art and also a fine advertisement for the quality of the Beauvais manufacture.

The king had the entire production of Gobelins at his disposal, but as Edith Standen points out, they were rather large, rather solemn and definitely old-fashioned. In 1739, for the first time, cartoons for Beauvais were exhibited at the Paris salon, another way of keeping the tapestry workshops before the public eye.

Oudry turned to other artists to supplement the tapestry cartoons he was producing; from Charles-Joseph Natoire's designs Beauvais wove the suite of Don Quichotte, and from François Boucher, starting in 1737, a long series of six suites of tapestry hangings, forty-five subjects in all, constituting the familiar "Boucher-Beauvais" suites that embody the rococo style: the Fêtes Italiennes, a set of village festivals in settings evoking the Roman Campagna, the Nobles Pastorales, a further suite of six chinoiseries, now in a lighter, Rococo handling. Boucher's eight oil sketches for these Tentures chinoises were shown in the Salon of 1742

Oudry's death, 30 April 1755, and Boucher's defection to the Gobelins the same year, initiated a period of stagnation, while the old designs were repeated, and then decline. (Dir. passed to Charron--neo-classicism, heroic themes, grand antiquity style; then De Menou in 1780, added Savonnerie carpets).

Tapestry from the suite of "Bérain Grotesques" (detail), made under the Behagles, c.1700

La pêche chinoise, 1742, one of Boucher's chinoiserie designs woven at Beauvais (Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie de Besançon)

Le Cheval fondu from the series of Amusements Champêtres for which Oudry provided cartoons in the 1720s

The Story of Alexander (Gobelins)



Alexander besieges Babylon, Gobelins under Charles Le Brun.

Furious melees, triumphal processions, organized, balanced without a trace of confusion--they represent the perfected type of Le Brun's historical pieces or 'great machines,' transcribed in wool and silk. High-warp hangings have borders with herms. Rewoven 8 times (with and without gold thread); also copies from Aubusson, Brussels, Munich.

History of the King (Gobelins)



Cartoons by Le Brun. Synthesis of the grandeur of the reign, exaltation of its military and civil pomp as embodied in Louis XIV. Story of the King is one of the most accomplished series produced at the Gobelins: faithful rendering of the setting, realism, interest of the landscape, accuracy of the portraiture and costumes give topographical and iconographical chronicle of the reign. Elegance set off by borders with Raphaelesque ornament, figures, coats-of-arms and initials. Borders vary in design (low-warp examples they are less elaborate).

Raphael cartoons (Gobelins)


1667: Raphael cartoons for "Acts of the Apostles" woven at Gobelins
1687: Raphael cartoons for Stanze for the Vatican woven at Gobelins.

Acts of the Apostles

Colbert dies; end of Le Brun's power


Colbert's successor Louvois, keeps Le Brun at a distance with he had been Colbert's protege. Le Brun remained titular director for Crown furnishings, but his period of absolute power was at an end.

Louvois fell back on the idea of copying old designs which had been initiated at the Gobelins with the Acts of the Apostles.

Triumph of the Gods


Triumph of the Gods, or Arabesques of Raphael. This set marks a reaction away from scenes of contemporary history and magniloquent allegory towards a purely decorative type of composition which had been out of favor in the immediately preceding period. "Arabesque Months" (woven for the Trianon) and "Mythological Subjects" (after Raphael) of lively grotesques, animals, birds, monkeys reinforce this movement.

Bedroom with Triumph of the Gods

Triumph of the Gods, 1699

Venus and Adonis from a set of Mythological Subjects after Raphael
Designed after drawing previously attributed to Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio or Santi) (Italian, Urbino 1483–1520 Rome)
designed 1686, woven 1686–90

Berain Grotesques (Beauvais)


Berain--Monnoyer Grotesques (Berain inspired the cartoons, but Monnoyer, a well-known flower-painter, did the actual cartoons). Very popular.

Camel: From the Bérain Grotesques, ca. 1685–89
Designed by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (French, 1636–1699); Woven at the Beauvais manufactory under the direction of Philippe Behagle (French, 1641–1705) or his son of the same name in the late 17th or early 18th century
Wool and silk

Grotesques enjoyed considerable success and were woven many times, with variants, until 1725 or later. Designs also imitated by Aubusson weavers working in Berlin and reproduced in embroidery. Foreshadow the 18th c. emphasis on purely ornamental compositions. Credit given to Berain at Beauvais in Behagle's Paris workshop, but also credit to Behagle--realized that it was essential to strike a new line.

Closure of Gobelins


Death of Louvois in 1691 and the exhaustion of the royal exchequer as a result of the war of the League of Augsburg brought productivity to a halt. Activity slackened and stopped. 1694 workshop forced to close. Workers went into the army or to Beauvais.

Gobelins reopened

1699 - 1789

Needed complete reorganization; royal factory for Crown furnishings had ceased to exist, only the looms resumed production. Responsibility transferred back to the superintendent of buildings (Jules Hardouin-Mansard, then Duc d'Antin from 1708-1736--son of Mme de Montespan, then Philippe Orry, etc..) Heads were no longer painters like Le Brun and Mignard, but architects. (But second heads were painters Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1733-55) and Francois Boucher (1755-1770).

Weaving was in the hands of contractors who retained relative independence.

But tapestry becomes more like paintings (Oudry, then Boucher, then woven portraits in 1763 Exhibition). Weigert thinks that this is a travesty, "nothing more than the reproductions of pictures of indifferent quality."

For Weigert, the "Continence of Bayard" represents the "nadir of dullness" (from the Scenes from French HIstory, 1784-7). "One hundred and thirty years of incessant research, of intense activity, had broughtt he Gobelins factory to the imserable torport of the Continence of Bayard..."

Dir. Oudry (Beauvais)

1726 - 1754

Ruled Beauvais with a firm hand; suppressed high-warp looms, improved professionsl training of the weavers, founded a school in 1750 that was free to all.

Appointed dir. of works at the Gobelins in 1730: demanded exact reproduction of both design and coloring. Renewed stock of designs.

Beauvais was in a better position that Gobelins to adapt itself rapidly to public demand, to changes of taste, and modifications of architectural style. Oudry devoted his work at Beauvais to the painting of landscapes and animals in a direct and naturalist vein.

Summoned Natoire (Don Quixote) and Boucher to Beauvais.

Woven under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686–1755); 1754–56

Dir. Oudry (Gob)

1733 - 1755

Oudry directed the Gobelins. Faithful rendering of landscape, portraits of Louis XV and companions (horses, dogs), simulated carved and gilt frames. Conceived in the manner and scale of pictures (Weigert thinks that their subjects are ill-adapted to tapestry technique). Because Oudry wanted the tapestries to look like paintings, he demanded multiple colors (done by dyes, which were ephemeral and have faded)--produced conflict w/ workers over exacting demands.

Chasse d'Oudry

Stag hunting was a noble amusement and one of the favourite hobbies of the Lords at the time; this sort of scene was often used in 18th century tapestry. This hunting scene was created by the famous French animal painter, Jean Baptise Oudry. In a landscape surrounded by woods, horsemen prepare the pack of stage hounds under the blow of the horns. This tapestry represents a hunting hold in the Forest of Campiègne, in the North of Paris.

Dir. Boucher

1755 - 1770

Boucher directed the Gobelins. Tapestries had become imitation of paintings. Gobelins need to bring cartoons up to date, hired painters...

But charm of these light tapestries must not obscure the fact that the Gobelins also produced belated manifestations in the tradition of Le Brun (religious, mythological sets, large dimensions, with the rules of classicism).

Osterley Park, Boucher Tapestries. Zenith of 18th c. production (designed by Maurice Jacques)

1776, Boucher.

Textile Designers

Charlier Workshop, St-Maur-les-Fosses


Royal manufactory of Charlier in Saint-Maur-les-Fosses, near Paris. Charlier's silks were for the king: gold, silver fabrics, silk, gold cloth in the Persian style, others in the Italian style. velvets, satins, damasks, gold and silk cloth. But disappeared under Louis XIV because not able to keep up with his standards.

Employed the same artists as Le Brun. (Jean I. Berain probably worked for Charlier)

b. Jean I. Berain


(b. 1637- d. 1711). Draughtsman and designer, painter and engraver of ornament, the artistic force in the Royal office of the Menus-Plaisirs du Roi where all the designs originated for court spectacle, from fêtes to funerals, and many designs for furnishings not covered by the Bâtiments du Roi.

The "Berainesque" style of light arabesques and playful grotesques was an essential element in the style Régence that led to the French rococo.

Repetition of the grotesque, animals crouched on architectural fragments, typical use of the baldachin.

Reprint, Vallet "Jardin du roi"


Second reprint (first in 1608) of the pattern book "Jardin du roi tres chretien Henri IV" which contained mostly floral designs. Relationship between gardens and embroideries was close at this time: visited gardens for inspiration, vice-versa garden styles called "en broderies". Ie. Le Notre @ Vaux-le-Vicomte.

Josse Van Robais


Colbert invites Robais, Flemish, wool manufacturer to come to Abbeville, Picardie in order to manufacture the best cloth in the world. Enjoyed Colbert's privileges (tax exemption, right to dye w/o guild, independence from the guild system, royal manufactory). Imported wool custom free from Spain. Also granted freedom of worship for him and his workers (he is Protestant).

Employed 6,000 people. 32 steps for the work--dyeing was the most important. Robais' colors were famous and copywrited. Black dye was the biggest secret. Manufactory survived into the 18th century.

du Cerceau, Bouquets Propres...


First artist interested in silk designs. Paul Androuet du Cerceau published "Bouquets propres pour les etoffes de Tours," the first collection of French textil designs. Style was still influenced by Italy, flowers looked like those drawn by botanists. The new "loom a la tire" helped translate these designs into fabric. Demand kept high by changing fashion.

Gobelins est. (Charles Le Brun)


Est. by Colbert as royal tapestry manufactory. Charles Le Brun was the first director (Story of Alexander, Life of Louis XIV). Then Beauvais was est: state subsidized for nobility and bourgeoisie (noted for verdures and grotesques).

1683: Abusson workshops opened (genre and exotic scenes).

By the 18th century tapestry had been regulated to decorative, small salon (military + pastoral scenes, not religion, then return to to classicism).

Many of the same workers who did tapestry also did embroidery. Working relationship with Saint Joseph's. The Gobelins had a director of embroidery, Philbert Balland, under Le Brun.

See embroidery in the style of tapestry, "Allegory of Spring and Air," design attib. to Charles Le Brun. Late 17th. Done in canvaswork, which appears woven to the non-specialist!,0

b. Jean Revel


Lyons designer (written about by Joubert de l'Hiberderie, Jacques-Charles Dutillieu, contemporaries). Revel innovated blending techniques. Legend credits Revel with the point rentre technique (c. 1730) and the mise en carte.

c. Daniel Marot


French Protestant, an architect, furniture designer and engraver at the forefront of the classicizing Late Baroque "Louis XIV" style.

HIs designs were totally free of Italian influence; gave birth to a typically French classical style in the decoration of fabrics.

Brocatelles w/ 2-3 colors (greens, reds, golds); bouquets of flowers and stylized foliage organized in symmetrical composition with many large repeats.

b. Philippe de Lasalle


Lyon designer of the 18th c. Marks the transition between Louis XV and Louis XVI

Also technician and inventor who contributed to the improvement of the loom. Learned w/ Sarrabat and Bachelier. Studied with Boucher. Established himself in Lyons w/ Charrye; but fully realized his talent w/ collaborations w/ Camille Pernon (one of Lyons greatest manufactories who supplied the French court, ie. hanging for MA's bedroom. Lasalle made mostly lampas for Pernon).

  • Visual contrast btw mat and shiny (cannetille backround), chenille for velvety relief, powerful design free of petty details, perfect understanding of color.

b. Jean Pillement


Lyons designer. Belongs to the period of rococo and Louis XV.

Second important to Lasalle.

Floral stylizations with flowers shaped as parasols and chinoiseries. His ornament played an important part in establishing the originality of the Louis XV style and its expansion throughout Europe.

b. J-B Huet


Jean-Baptiste Huet (1745-1811): French painter, engraver and designer associated with pastoral and genre scenes of animals in the Rococo manner, influenced by François Boucher.

Worked w/ Oberkampf and Beauvais (cartoons in 1780).

Paintings by Huet at Nissim de Cammondo

Toile de Jouy by Huet, 1792

b. Jean-Demosthene Dugourc


(b. 1749- d. 1825). Delicate, precise designs. His designs were woven by Pernon. Before the Revolution they were in the Arabesque and Etruscan genres. Collaborated w/ the Spanish court between 1800-1814.

1784: nominated drawer of the Garde-Meuble.

Transition between Lasalle and the strict neoclassicism of the 1st Empire.

b. Jean-Francois Bony


(b. 1754- d. 1825). Inaugurated the new antique revival style, master of Empire silk design. But before classicism he collaborated with Philippe de Lasalle in the Pernon manufactory where he practiced the flowery and supple Louis XVI style.

1780 works with Bissardon. Does alot of work for NB and Josephine.

Also did embroidery.

See also: Antoine Berjon (1754-1802), Toussaint Checazelle (1752-1835), Jean-Demosthene Dugourc (1749-1825)

Drew designs for Josephine's coronation dress

Est. Ecole de Dessin, Lyons


Free Royal school of Design Est. by Abbe de Lacroix-Laval.

Daniel Sarrabat was the first master (taught Philippe de Lasalle and Donat Nonnotte). Flower painter taught as well (Douet was the most reputable in Lyons). Sometimes the student finished his education in Paris, at the free school founded by Jean-Jacques Bachelier or in the atelier of a painter-cartoonist from Les Gobelins (in constant communication with La Grande Fabrique bc flower motifs also played a considerable role in tapestry).

Met first w/ opposition from designer manufacturers. Objected that training devoted too much time in teaching students to draw from the round, rather than from the model. Only half the study reserved for floral study and charting. Wanted to prevent the vulgarization of the art of design: wanted shorter and more specialized instruction which would include botany (this happened in 1799 w/ the foundation of the special flower schools created by Abbe Rozier).

Oberkampf founds Manufacture de Jouy


Huet made many designs for the Manufacture for printed cottons and linens in the style of the Chinese wallpapers. Toile de Jouy owe their episodic treatment, purely decorative perspective, mannered scheme to Chinese art. Oriental spirit.

Oberkampf was successful bc he attended to quality and designs: colorfast dyes + Huet.

1770: initiated copperplate printing
1797: roller printing
1809: invented solid green (secret traded to English printers in return for info about roller printing and cotton spinning)

b. Camille Pernon



Master of Lyons silk production. Worked with de Lasalle, Dugourc.

1784: began to work for the Garde-meuble de la couronne.

Under Napoleon, Pernon held a monopoly on supplying the courts of Europe from 1803-1807. Won gold metal at the 1802 Paris exposition and was then invited to dine with Napoleon.

Dugourc + Pernon (@ the Met)

CG de St-Aubin, L'art du brodeur


Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin publishes L'Art du Brodeur. St-Aubin was the official designer and embroiderer to Louis XV. The book offers a clear picture at how embroideries were made the kinds of stitches that were most popular at the time.

Est. Ecole des Beaux-Arts


Ecole de Dessin transforms into the Beaux-Arts.

Gaspard Gregoire


(b.1751, Aix - d. 1846, Paris). Specific technique: picture woven in velvet, velours Gregoire. Did this from approx. 1815-1830.

Rise of independent designer


Designer becomes a tradesman and industrialist. He no longer sets the fashion, but had to submit to it. Display versatility over talent (fashion cycles increasing). Real talents smothered because depth and originality were no longer important. Gave rise to overproduction and mediocrity.

William Morris, Merton Abbey Tapestry Works


WM founded the MATP as a response to the Industrial Revolution. Made tapestry using medieval methods.

Textile Dyes + Color

Natural Dyestuffs

1600 - 1850

Most widely used and known dyes up to the invention of synthetic colors in the 1850s were purple, madder, woad, indigo, kermes, cochineal, saffron and orseille.

Purple: extracted from shellfish (Murex and Purpura), esp. in the Tyre region. Diluted with water and stale urine and boiled for 10 days for concentrated solution. Many shades up to deep violet or even reddish-black. Extremely fast. Rarity and costliness so status symbol.

Scarlet: Reds from 'purple' Murex, but brillant scarlet dye also from kermes insect (louse, Mediterranean and southwest Europe). 16th c. Spaniards conquered Mexico and discovered Aztecs and cochineal. Replaced kermes.

Cochineal: **needs mordant.

Woad: plant, rich blue dye: first bath black, the blue, then green.

Indigo: superseded woad once it started to be imported in quantity after 1577. 1897 synthetic indigo introduced.

Madder: principal red dye, cultivated in large quantities in the 16th c. Cultivation reached high standard in Holland and in France. 1869 alizarin produced synthetical, no more madder grown after that. Madder had to be used in conjunction with 'red liquor' to be fast, cheap. But yielded a dull terracotta, not brilliant like kermes. The production of a brilliant, clear red from the madder was only possible by the elaborate Middle Eastern method of dyeing known as "Turkey Red". 18th c. process done by the French.
**Needs mordant

Yellows: many sources, not fast. saffron, weld.

In the 16th c. new dyes were introduced from the Americas: cochineal, dye-woods (brazilwood, logwood).

Wm Sherwin, printing fabric patent


Patent for printing and dyeing in the Indian way. Beginning of England's evolution in dye history. Transition from hand painting mordants on cloth to printing with mordants had been held back by two problems: viscosity, removal of bleeding mordant. But solutions worked on cotton and linen, not on wool and silk.

English blue


Before blue could be had using only the resist dying method. English blue (aka pencil blue) made it possible to pencil or brush blue onto cloth. Only fine lines or dabs were possible, but the process led itself tot sprigged floral patterns in printed calicos.

Mordant dyeing desc. by Father Coeurdoux


Indian process from which the French dyeing industry received invaluable help.

Turkey Red

1747 - 1869

rouge Turc, rouge des Indes, rouge d'Adrianople. Invention of artificially produced Alizarin took over from traditional Turkey red.

Bright red color produced from madder, fast. Closely guarded secret from the Middle East.

1747: workshop set up in Rouen with Greek dyers, Dutch also attempting. But results poor: climate, ingredients, knowledge poor. Turkey Red needed alum and oil. Tedious process. French chemists discovered after 1786 that a brighter color was obtained if tin salts were added to the soap bath.

1860: castor oil invented and used for it.

No other dyeing process approached the number of steps or degree of difficulty involved in dyeing Turkey red. No uniform method was ever developed.

Chlorine Discovery


Dramatic breakthrough for the bleaching of cotton. Discovered by a Swede, Carl Wilhelm Scheele.

1785: Frenchman Berthollet suggested chlorine + water (eau de Javel) for bleaching textiles.

1810: Bleaching textiles first used in US.

China blue


China blue process: dissolve indigo in paste+ gum, apply to cloth, dip cloth in solution to reduce indigo, then dissolve it. This process was used with copperplates for calico printing.



fast yellow discovered by Edward Bancroft. American export.

Yellow dye was good for all fibers, preferred for silk and wool even after aniline dyes were introduced.

Vert solide


Samuel Widmer, relative and colleague of CPO discovered the solid green (before, produced by printing or pencilling a dull yellow over blue, very fugitive).

New natural colors

1810 - 1840

Came with the growth of roller printing in England.

Until 1810, if one wanted a fabric printed with fast colors, the choice was madder, indigo, quercitron.

Between 1810-1840 a whole series of new colors, all natural, were developed: browns and oranges from manganese, chrome, antimony minerals, pinks from cochineal, Prussian blue.

D. Koechlien + Red-Bottomed Merinos


Mulhouse, colorist Daniel Koechlin noticed that Turkey red was dissolved by chloride of lime when combined with an acid. Applied it to stamps. Then added blue. Used paintburh for yellow mordant dye on white sections to get yellow and on blue sections to get green.

In 1820 discovered yellow chrome could be used to etch madder dyed cloths. (yellow etching). Resulted in a specific product called Merinos or Yellow-red merinos (also applied to the black red prints).

Manganese Bronze


Introduced by Mercer. Became a very fashionable color.

Wm Morris, indigo discharge process


Used blocks for an indigo discharge process. Designed chintzes.

Perkin's Mauve


Pupil of Hofmann at the Royal College of Chemistry in London. Potassium bichromate and impure aniline. Color: mauve; dye: mauveine.

Commercial production had problems: shortage of aniline, but then discovered that it could come from coal-tar. From coal-tar gushed an illimitable stream of new and exciting colors.

Aniline red (aks fuchsine/magenta)


Hofmann (Perkin's mentor!) discovered this. Bright blue-red.

International Exhibition, London


By this time fabrics dyed in aniline blue, violet, green displayed next to mauve and magenta.

Alizarin (madder)


Synthetic matter for madder.

New Synthetic Dyestuffs

1880 - 1900

Mordant dyes, 1870s: Alizarin: coloring principle of the madder plant and a mordant dye. Alizarin orange, brown, blue.

Acid dyes: Bismarck brown (1862), etc. All needed mordant still though

Direct dyes: 1883, "Sun Yellow" and "Congo red".

Vat dyes: synthetic indigo, 1880.

Indigo synthesized


Woad was superseded by Indigo in the 17th c. Then synthesized.

1st man-made fiber


"nitro-cellulose" or guncotton (aka Chardonnet or art silk). Manufactured by Count Hilaire de Chardonnet in France. English manufacturers make viscose rayon in 1892.

But not really manufactured until 1918-20.

Textile Technology

Draw loom, perfection


Claude Dangon (Milanese origin) perfected the drawloom, which made it possible to copy, then to improve upon, imported figured fabrics. This help French silks become an artistic craft, freed France from foreign imports of silk. Thanks to this development, French silks became independent of Italy and began to develop their own style.

Drawloom innovations

1725 - 1748

Bouchon, Falcon, Genin, Ponson, Vaucanson, Girard, Laurisse, Philippe de Lasalle

Kay's Flying Shuttle


Arrangement to catch the shuttle. Two weavers were no longer needed. Gave the handweaver a short period of ease, could earn more with less work. But did not weave more because the spinners could not keep up with him (this was later solved by the jenny).

James Hargreaves, spinning jenny


Using multiple vertical spindles to spin and finish yarn. The jenny increased the supply of weft but was not suitable for making yarn strong enough to be used for warp (this was accomplished by Arkwright's water frame).

Arkwright, water frame


Arkwight by Joseph Wright of Derby

Added to the jenny with a water-powered spinning machine with drafting rollers. Continuous spinning. Arkwright is remembers as the father of the Industrial Revolution because he opeened factories where large numers of his water frames were installed (work went on 24 hours/day).

**Could spin cotton yarn that was strong enough to warp thread.

(Started as a barber and wig-maker).

By 1782 his mills employed 5,000.

His Mills

Industrial Revolution

1770 - 1850

Advent of the factory system. More broadly, 1760-1915.

But in UK, 1770-1850: textile production shifted from the home to the factory. Cotton industry was the first to industrialize, but continued in the linen, woolen, and silk industries well into the 1840s.

Three inventions led to the Industrial REvolution: the discovery that iron could be smelted by using coke, invention of the steam engive by James Watt in 1770, the invention of textile machinery (Kay's flying shuttle), spinning jennny, Arkwrights' water frame, cotton mule.

Crompton, cotton mule


Samuel Crompton carried Arkwright's invention even further. Cross between vertical spindles and the traveling carriage of the jenny and the drafting rollers of the water frame. Very fine yarn could be made quickly because one spinner could oversee a thousand spindles simultaneously.

Now there was a surplus of yarn, too much fabric to be washed, dyed, finished. by the 1830s machines and processes came into synchronization, home textiles declined even more quickly.

James Watt, Steam Engine


One of the three major factors of the Industrial Revolution (coke, steam engine, Kay's flying shuttle).

Jacquard Loom


Invention of the Jacquard loom by Joseph Marie Jacquard. Based on earlier designs by Bouchon (1725), Falcon (1728), and Vaucason (1740).

1805: introduced the punched card device that could be attached to a regular handloom and operated simply by two treadles.

By 1812: over 18,000 looms equipped with jacquard heads. French silk industry revitalized enough to challenge Spitalfields in England.

1820s: loom became efficient and was put into effect after further improvements by Breton.

Perrotine printer


Printing machine that faithfully imitated the operations of a hand printer. Invention by M. Perrot of Rouent, a mechanic and calico printer. Printed from flat wooden blocks, but the pattern was not carved out of the wood but formed by metal coppering or the insertion into the block of metal strips and pins. Printed many colors in one operation with greater speed. Did not last long: in competition with the roller printer.


Decline of the Guilds


Changes began to occur in the guild system: states were more powerful, individual cities and guilds lost ground to them in regulating wages and working hours. Internal problems, lack of solidarity, corruption. Cloth production spread to the country.

Colbert + Mercantilism

1643 - 1715

Mercantilism advocated gvt regulation of a nation's production and foreign trade in order to increase political power. Production was regulated; Colbert put the textile industry under guild jurisdiction. System was conducive to innovation.

Mercantilism gave way to "liberal" or laissez-faire economics in the mid-18th-19th century (factory system flourished under this).

Indian fabrics


First painted Indian fabrics to arrive in France were shown at the Saint-Germain fair in 1658. Instantly popular, used for furniture covers, draperies, dressing gowns.



Trade between France and China encouraged by Mazarin and Colbert. Oriental fashion arrives at court.



1611: East India Company establishes agency in Masulipatam.
By 1670 trade between England and India was so important that English designers went to India to introduce designs better suited to European taste.



Feudal isolation broken by English, French, American fleets.
1866: Japanese ambassadors come to France.

Goncourt, Belle Sainara, Whistler, Tiffany in the 1870s.