May 4, 2011

Color schemes in 19th C French textiles, part 11

To add examples of the use of the color gray in antique French fabrics, this post follows and expands on "Color schemes in 19th century French textiles, part 7."
Gray was very much favored in delicate or romantic foreground motifs in combination with one or two other colors. Pink and burgundy tones were commonly paired with gray, but other colors were occasionally also used. The five pieces shown below are all from the second half of the 19th century and were printed on a fine cotton. Note the fine quality of the engraving and printing on the first three. These three are prints are exceptional quality.

In the next fabric, a three-dimensional look is created by repeating parts of the foreground motif in shades of gray. This printing trick was used extensively in many styles of printed patterns.

One of the more unusual uses for gray was to print a background pattern on cotton - printed so as to look like a moiré silk - thus creating a faux moiré. Faux moiré patterns were printed in other colors also, but gray seems to have been the preferred color. Here are two examples from the mid-19th century. Both these were printed on fine Egyptian cotton, so were expensive fabrics when first sold.

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