Tuesday, 14 May 2013


This was the small image in World of Interiors magazine that brought me many customers and my nickname, Mrs. Ticking. When I first started buying in France, stuff and linen was incredibly cheap. Unfortunately it is no longer so and you have to work hard to find the treasure, and pay up for it.
   After the last war, many farms and large bourgeois houses passed to the next generation and they no longer wished to use and store the traditional household linens. Cotton and nylon and polycotton sheets were cheap and much less work, blankets were affordable, so the old feather beds, which were often dusty and dirty, were discarded. These  were often collected by the newly-arrived and poor Morocans and Algerians who came to work in the fields and vineyards, and who were happy to take them to the local recycle depots where they could exchange them for decorative china and household goods. The feathers could be sold according to the quality and amount of down, but the covers, the coutils, were of little value and went to the rag factories. Elsewhere I tell of my amazing find of a store of several thousand tickings which had failed to go to the factory. Many were from Germany with a fantastic variety of shaded stripes. These wonderful and bright and brilliant mixes of colours were almost unknown elsewhere - the combinations were, I presume,  inspired by the weavers and their supplies of coloured cottons and were not the work of high powered designers!  I have counted as many as 17 different shades in the stripes,  and I have kept an archive of all the different colourways;  I have about 130 different versions.  They all go together so they are very easy to combine in a room and always seem to give much pleasure, as well as being washable and extremely hard-wearing.  When I first had them and the little image above was printed, I had a rush of all the top fabric designers in U.S. and London, all wanting to buy samples for getting the copyright before anyone else and many were copied for re-sale at quite high prices.  I was quite surprised at the interest shown by many very top designers and decorators and sometimes I used to see my tickings in the foreign glossy magazines. So from humble French beds in cottages and farms, the tickings then graced the smartest appartments and mansions in California, N.Y. and Florida  and no doubt the decorators were able to make a good profit with these original and unrepeatable designs. 

1 comment:

  1. I keep looking for ticking in Burgundy, I do pick up the occasional piece but it's not at all easy to find.