Aug 26, 2012

French Textiles - From 1760 to the Present - book review

I've had several email from readers asking which books I would recommend for learning about textiles or as good reference and research books.
There is a list on my website, but I'll use this opportunity to show some of those books in more detail. If you'd like to see the list, it can be found at the bottom of this page:

One of the best general books on French textiles is French Textiles - From 1760 to the Present  by Mary Schoeser and Kathleen Dejardin, published by Lawrence King in 1991. This book is currently out-of-print, but copies can be found on used book websites.

French Textiles - From 1760 to the Present, as the title indicates, focuses on the two hundred years since 1760, a year after France lifted the embargo on printed textiles. The embargo had been ordered a century earlier by the king in order to protect French silk producers from competition from imported chintz and other printed cottons from India and the Far East.
French Textiles gives a chronological history of the French textile industry, organized by blocks of time as indicated in some of the chapter titles:  "Enlightenment (1760-1790)"; "Upheaval (1790-1830)"; "Industrialization (1830-1870.)"
Each chapter has many pictures to illustrate the text, including images of textiles from the epoch as well as pictures of household interiors that show how the textiles were used. French Textiles - From 1760 to the Present is an excellent book, both as a general survey as well as a solid reference.
The first picture below, from page 41, shows a typical late-18th century bed that used several different toile patterns on one bed. The second below is the book open to pages 52-53 and shows typical 18th century floral prints.