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Furnishing fabric

Furnishing fabric

  • Place of origin:

    Alsace (manufactured)

  • Date:

    about 1785-95 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper plate printed cotton

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This scene is typical of the pastoral and theatrical or literary scenes printed on cotton textiles in the late 18th century in various centres of cotton printing across northern Europe, including that of Wesserling in Alsace where this piece was made. The imagery was based on works by the Dutch artist Karel Dujardin (about 1622-78). 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 and likely market for these expensive furnishings textiles.

The picnic depicted here is staged - a theatrical moment in an outdoor setting. All figures are dressed in clothes that refer back to 17th-century historical styles - the large brimmed hats with their large feathers are similar to those worn in Rubens's paintings, while the paned sleeves on the woman's dress and the paned breeches of the boys lounging on the ground date to the first half of the 17th rather than to the 18th century. The short jackets are reminiscent of 17th-century doublets. Some of these elements of dress became popular again in late 18th-century fashionable dress, having been worn both on the stage for historical plays and also at masquerades where aristocrats chose to dress up as figures from a previous age.

Physical description

Copper plate printed cotton, red on white ground, depicting scenes of elegant characters eating and drinking, peasants using laden horses and taking them to a classically inspired trough, playing and looking after cattle, all in a rural setting, .

Place of Origin

Alsace (manufactured)


about 1785-95 (manufactured)



Materials and Techniques

Copper plate printed cotton


Length: 97.5 cm Incomplete repeat, Width: 88 cm

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 1785-95, French; Plate printed after works by Karel Dujardin, manufactured by Wesserling, Alsace; The Drinkers

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

Sarah Grant, Toiles de Jouy. French Printed Cottons, V&A Publishing, 2010, pp. 46-7, catalogue 12.


Cotton (textile)



Subjects depicted

Horse; Picnic; Drink; Dog; Men; Food; Trees; Women




Textiles and Fashion Collection

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