Photographing a fabric at it's birthplace: Toile de Jouy

I have always loved the peaceful country scenes of the cotton fabric known as Toile de Jouy and discovered the history behind the design on a photoshoot at the Chateau Maillebois.

Unbeknownst to me, I was bringing the fabric home to its birthplace of the Chateau Maillebois as for one of the photoshoots for the La Belle France collection, models wore garments made out of this beautiful fabric.

On the Thursday afternoon of the photoshoot after a wonderful lunch of summer salads, delicious Camembert and baguette out on the terrace, I was walking with a coffee through the ground floor rooms, pondering in a moment of peace where to shoot the next scenes. I stopped in the Salon Vert and asked Sylvie about the lady in the portrait between the french windows. Sylvie replied, "she was my great grandmother, and her great grandfather was Christophe Oberkampf who invented Toile de Jouy in 1760."

Toile de jouy is a cotton fabric that was first made in the town of Jouy- en-Josas near Paris. Overkampf first made his toile after the flood of fashionable Indian chintzes to the french market in 17 th century had caused the French government to ban the Indian fabrics in 1686. The ban was lifted in 1769 and the Oberkampf factory was founded, igniting the French printed cotton industry that continues today printing on cottons and silks and wallpapers. Some of the prettiest wallpapers are made by Cole and Son.

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