Toile… What’s Not to Love About it?
Nothing! I absolutely love toile, I have since I remember first seeing it when I was a little girl, and even though it’s been so over-done to some regard the past few years… I still love it.
So what exactly is toile? Toile is classically a monochromatic print typically in red, blue, green, black or brown on an off-white background, originally printed on linen or a linen ‘feel’ fabric. Usually the pattern depicts pastoral, historical or allegorical scenes or landscapes.
Toile was introduced in France by a man named Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf in the town of Jouy-en-Josas near Versailles, in the mid 18th century and was a great success. (Being supported by the courts of Louis XV and Louis XVI may have helped that success.)
I’ve read about how as it was being produced, the factory workers would lay it out on the fields to dry after printing it and what an amazing sight that would have been for passing noblemen.
I’m not an expert on toile, and even though the definition says it’s a monochromatic pattern on an off white background, I’ve seen prints in more than one color that I would still identify as toile, such as this:
It’s kind of like a ‘watercolored’ toile print.
Originally toile fabric was used in the same way we love to use it today, to cover walls, upholstery and draperies…
not to mention as canopies over beds in their handsome French castles, like this beauty!
The good news is that today there are many, many toile prints available on just about everything, and you no longer need to be a member of the royal court to be able to afford to decorate with it.
Here are a few ways I have used toile to decorate my humble little ‘castle’:
And then there’s the suggestion of toile I’ve scattered throughout my home…
This is a lampshade I have in our living room I bought at Home Goods when I was working on lightening up the living room.
And for sure there are these type of antique plates and platters that really feel like a toile design, so to my eye, they repeat the toile theme. This one is on the mantel in our living room.
And this platter is over by the bird lamp in the far corner of the living room.
I think one of the reasons I love toile so much is because the unfussiness of the print allows my imagination to see the depicting scene better, so in toile’s simplicity it gives way to a level of quiet sophistication.
How do you feel about toile? Do you still appreciate it, or has it been over-done and you’re tired of it?
Posted on July 13, 2012, in Our House, Style and Theme, Uncategorized and tagged decorate with a little bit, DecorateWithaLittleBit, fabric, French, Home Goods, toile, wallpaper. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.