Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Rural Festivities

  • Object:

    Furnishing fabric

  • Place of origin:

    Nantes (manufactured)

  • Date:

    about 1795 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper plate printed cotton

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Rural Festivities is typical of many rural scenes printed on cotton textiles in the late 18th century in various centres of cotton printing across northern Europe, including by Petitpierre et cie. in Nantes. The most famous cotton-printing factory was propitiously located at Jouy-en-Josas, half way between Paris and Versailles, the main residences of the French court - and the most desired market for these expensive furnishings textiles.

The scene depicts activities enjoyed by the wealthier classes in 18th-century Europe - the aristocracy and bourgeoisie who usually spent most of their lives in the city or at court and seem to have had a nostalgic view of the countryside as a place of leisure rather than work. Not suprisingly, all figures in the painting are dressed in the most fashionable attire of the 1780s, as they enjoy pursuits as varied as horse-riding and racing, fishing and picnicking.

Physical description

Copper plate printed cotton, red (probably madder) on white ground, with scenes of rural activities, including riding and horse racing, fishing, eating, drinking and courting. Architectural features, non-European and European trees and urns of flowers complement the human content.

Place of Origin

Nantes (manufactured)


about 1795 (manufactured)



Materials and Techniques

Copper plate printed cotton


Length: 106 cm, Width: 95 cm, Length: 101.5 cm repeat

Object history note

One of the pieces of printed cotton purchased from Madame Mayoux, a Parisian gallery owner and collector, in 1919.

Historical context note

The V&A collection of French printed cottons dating to 1760-1830 comprises more than 500 textile fragments. Over 300 pattern books contain 300,000 designs of French printed cottons from the 18th to 20th centuries. These collections were largely shaped by acquisitions from three sources: Dr Robert Forrer, a Swiss-born archaeologist and antiques dealer (V&A acquisition in 1899), Madame Mayoux, a Parisian gallery owner and collector (V&A acquisitions in 1919) and Sara Lee Courtaulds (donation of Courtaulds' archive of pattern books, including eight from Oberkampf's factory at Jouy, in 2000). Other examples have been acquired by textile curators.

Descriptive line

printed cotton, about 1795, French; Plate printed, Petitpierre et Cie, Nantes; Rural Festivities; brown on white

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Sarah Grant, Toiles de Jouy. French Printed Cottons, V&A Publishing, 2010, p. 51, Catalogue 16.


Cotton (textile)



Subjects depicted

Dog; Racing; Trees; Fishing; Bridge; Antique ruins; Courting; Horses; Flowers; Palm tree; Men; Women; Food and drink; Vase; Children; Riding; Trough




Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.