Tuesday, 19 March 2013


              The wedding of Mary, Queen of Scots and Francis II of France -a good Toile de Jouy in a rich red dye.

Foraging around a big French Fair ! - Should one dash round to be the first to spot that
fabulous Palampore before anyone else sees it? (which is what a very clever friend of mine did recently) or should one comb through all those piles in the hope of finding hidden treasure? or should one visit previous fruitful pitches, or venture into the unknown stacks and heaps? Last time I was at a big Fair, I was dashing to my favorite source and dealer, and on the way, saw a pile with a hideous modern 'in your face' tropical jungle print curtain on top with a very well dressed French gent in charge. I lifted the modern horror, and there underneath was a pile of crumpled bedcovers and curtains, every one in unmistakeable Toile de Jouy!  The Frenchman deigned to tell me that they had all been found in a big 'malle' (trunk) in the attics of a very ancient chateau he had just inherited, but he was only prepared to sell them all as one lot! So I had to spend at least 20 minutes holding huge panels and quilts up to the light to see the holes, stains and patches of a remarkable collection - some good and many rather distressed. Since getting them home I have re-read my Toile de Jouy reference book and find that 4 of them are listed, dated 1780s and further research may reveal more - anyway a worthwhile stop though I may have missed some other bargains and/or treasures elsewhere at the Fair.  Some of the damaged pieces will go to America where ladies enjoy re-mounting scraps like these, and fragments of Aubusson tapestries, on to silk and satin to make 'boudoir' cushions and 'pochettes' whatever they are! I hope to publish a picture of one of these works of art!

1 comment:

  1. Lucky you and lucky people who end up getting the toile -just love it.