26 January 2012

Toile Around the House

A recent peek into the forgotten top shelf of my closet reminded me that I own a much loved and worn handbag that's hand embroidered. A closer look at this bag shows that the embroidery has 18th century connections...
French Knots
Satin Stitches

...which got me thinking, "What else around my house has influences from the 18th century?"

I'm not talking about reproductions or treasures found when antiquing, I'm thinking about modern items that show an influence from those who lived in the 18th century.

As a former Yves Delorme employee, I know that the designer responsible for the traditional look behind their linens annually visits the gardens at Versailles for inspiration. And my Marie Antoinette-inspired toile bedding reflects that.

I then remembered that I have toile PJ bottoms.

While a closer inspection shows that the toile is very colonial revival...
Note the voluptuous woman on the right and the covered wagon.

...I'll cut Abercrombie & Fitch some slack. My daughter's Christmas dress...
...has faux growth pleats on the sleeves and skirt. The pleats are not unlike the appearance of the pleats in the painting below.

Child With Dog, 1770-1790
Colonial Williamsburg, Accession Number 1931.100.2
A full-length portrait of a child in a sheer white dress with a red underskirt showing through it, the sheer skirt having two tucks above the hem.

Watching Caillou on PBS Sprout...

 ...I'm convinced that Caillou's grandpop's shoes...

...are actually Burnley & Trowbridge's red lady's 18th century walking shoes.

But best of all, a visit to my kitchen reminded of the Fortnum & Mason tea--a company founded in 1707--that sits in my pantry.

Are there any influences of the 18th century "toile" around your house?


  1. Absolutely! My bedroom curtains are a burgundy on natural pastoral toile, full length, but hung from a red and gold chinoiserie rod, not so sure about that but it is defintely rococco in its maximalism. And my lounge cushions are a jacobean jacquard in red and gold, and my chairs are stripes. And my duvet cover is white cotton with cherry blossom branches embroidered all over. And that's just the start of it. I love all things reminiscent of the past, especially 18 C :)

  2. Hi! I found your blog as I was searching for the toile bedding that you included in this post. Someone just gave me a bedding set of the same pattern, and I have been trying to figure out the manufacturer because I am trying to find curtains that would be similar. But all the tags are cut off! The only picture I have found is of yours. :) Would you remember where you got it? Or the manufacturer? Or the name of the design? Anything would help! Thanks, you can reach me at columella at gmail dot com

    1. My duvet cover, with the red background, is a Marie Antoinette-style toile made by the French manufacturer Yves Delorme. I bought it in their online outlet in 2010. When I worked for the company (almost ten years ago) they didn't sell curtains. Good luck! http://yvesdelorme.com/


Your feedback is appreciated. :)