Aug 27, 2009

Color schemes in 19th C French textiles, part 1

Many people, when imagining French antique fabrics, have visions of soft faded romantic floral patterns. This kind of motif certainly existed and was very popular, but the French textile designers and manufacturers were too audacious to be confined to using only pale romantic colors.

Early in the 19th century, bright chrome yellow dye was discovered and perfected and then quickly became a trend. The bright yellow background was often printed with a monochromatic red motif. Three examples are shown below.
In the top picture, the shading of the red in an acanthus pattern is very subtle and gives a woven look. The middle is a quilted piece with an intricate floral design. The bottom picture has a simple pattern, depicting juicy, almost-ripe grapes.