Friday, 25 September 2009

The thrill of the chase!

At the recent Montpelier Fair, I passed a big furniture stand and a cardboard box, suitcase size. Seeing a bit of pink print, I dug in and found a hoard of remnants of my favourite Indienne prints, all pinky red. A burly trader said there was another box if I was interested - was I???
With beating heart and shaky hands I counted over 200 smallish pieces, ideal for cushions, and some much bigger panels, enough for several pairs of bedroom curtains. Some were as new, bright and unused, others had tack holes round the edges and some were very faded - a very motley lot
The dealer then volunteered that they were all toile de Jouy (which they were not) and they had all come from the greniers (attics) of the Chateau de la Brede, the seat of the Baron Montesquieu near Bordeaux. By strange coincidence I had read that week in my copy of Aladin, the French trade magazine, that the papers of the original 18c. Baron, a world-famous philosopher, politician and writer, were being removed from the chateau to be put in an official archive. The box holding the fabric was an official one with an archive label 'borrowed ' by the rascally trader! So provenance o.k., but how had they been used? He told me they came from the cupboards and attics and I think that they must have been used to decorate the panelling in three or four rooms and the cut-offs had also been saved by a thrifty housekeeper. There is quite a lot of genuine Jouy toile, late 18c. and this is a rustic genre design on good quality linen, nice and bright and with lots of useful cameos to make cushion centres, called L'Escarpolette, The Swing, The greater part of this hoard is late 19c. Indiennes, charming and colourful, but not of the same rarity or value. See Tracking Red Indiennes Blog., for more about Indiennes from this lot.

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