The French designers understood that when a printed fabric with a black background is hung, the background seems to recede and disappear, leaving the beautiful floral foregound motif appearing as if it is suspended in air! Whole rooms were decorated with floral fabrics with a black background. The French textile designers considered black to be a transparent color or a non-color.
The black backgrounds were popularly called "chimney sweep" and varied in tonal shadings as diverse as blue-black to brown-black to a bronze-black. These deep-toned fabrics can work well in many interiors and can harmonize easily with mid-tone fabrics. Below are several examples of black background 19th century French fabrics: