Feb 10, 2012

Fragments of yellow toiles

Although there are many plants that produce a yellow tint for dyeing, all the natural yellows are light-sensitive and fade quickly. As a result, until color-fast yellow dyes were created in the 19th century, very few textiles were dyed in shades of yellow and only a very few of those have survived.
When looking at old French toiles, it's easy to notice that the early yellows had a wide range of shades that are not at all the color we traditionally think of as yellow. Instead, the natural dyes created tints that ranged from gold to orangish-yellow to apricot-yellow to near-brown. Below are pictures of several fragments of early yellow toiles from the late-18th and early-19th century.