Aug 16, 2009

Evolution of French textile design

Early French printed cotton textile designs were copies of the Indian and Persian motifs, slightly revised for the French market. Due to their source of inspiration, these early designs were oriental in flavor. Only late in the 18th century did French textile designers start to use European flowers as inspiration for their motifs.

Because of this change in focus, by the early 19th century, the textile companies began to hire French textile designers and often recruited well-known artists. These artist-textile designers were highly respected for their art and the position commanded a good salary and prestige.

Their designs, created expressly for printing onto cloth, took inspiration primarily from flowers. During the Napoleonic era, roses dominated the motifs. During the era of the Restoration (1814-1830), new themes derived from classical antiquity were in favor, such as the acanthus leaf, scrolls, garlands and urns, although still incorporating floral motifs. The textiles pictured below are both from the later part of the 19th century, but depict the classical motifs that were made popular during the Restoration.