May 22, 2010

Grapes and wine from the vine

Cultivation of the grape vine and the production of grapes into wine has a history that stretches back almost 6000 years. When the Romans invaded Gaul (present day France) and founded the city of Narbonne in 118 B.C., wine making was already well-established. Every region of France has hundreds of acres of vineyards except for northern Normandy (Normandy specializes in apple orchards and Calvados.)
Due to the importance of the grape in French agriculture and commerce, it's not surprising that it was used as a motif in printed textiles.  The first swatch pictured below is a very early (ca. 1820) Alsace print with a grape motif and an unusual color scheme.

The next four examples are all mid- to late- 19th century. Note the similarity between the motif of the red and white toile and the red and gray print.

And the real thing in mid-summer, when the tender, young grapes are green and still growing.

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