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The Story Behind Our Climbing Floral

In the early 17th century "chintz" was all the rage in Europe. Fine cotton fabrics painted and dyed with depictions of exotic flora and fauna, chintz was imported from India to Europe. They became so incredibly popular, that in 1686, France passed a law that prohibited the importation because of how much it affected domestic fabric sales. England did the same in 1700. 

The Garrick Bed ca. 1775 

To meet the demand for chintz lovers, Europeans began to develop their own technology and designs. They started with woodblock printing where detailed designs were carved into blocks, dipped in dye, and applied to designated areas on textiles. Smaller areas were handprinted or penciled. 

By 1752 a new technology took form called engraved copperplates, first in Ireland and then brought to England. With copperplates, designs could be even more intricate; however, limited to only one color. Textile designers would use a combination of copperplates, woodblocks, and hand-painting to produce versions that matched their Indian counterparts.  

Les Travaux de la Manufacture, French, Jouy-en-Josas, ca. 1783

The English became the main producers of copperplate-printed cottons in Europe until 1780 when Christophe Oberkampf began production at his factory in Jouy-en-Josas just outside of Paris. Oberkampf became known for his pictorial printed cottons known as "toile de Jouy." Toiles depicted everything from floral and chinoiserie patterns to political subjects, mythology, and popular literature. 

19th Century Printed English Cotton 

 

By the late 18th century a new technique called roller printing, an improvement on copperplates, was developed in England. This innovation enabled manufacturers to print larger quantities of fabrics quickly, and at a lower cost. By the 19th century, printed cotton production increased dramatically.

Over the 19th century, European textile designers continued the chintz tradition of depicting exotic flora, which is what our Climbing Floral pattern is inspired by. Our hand-drawn lily evokes the feeling of paradise and is available in eight color ways. Take a look at some of our favorite combinations. 

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