La Fête de la Fédération thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 1

La Fête de la Fédération

Valance
ca. 1792 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This cotton was printed at the manufactory established in 1760 by Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf (1738-1815) at Jouy-en-Josas, a village propitiously situated between Paris and Versailles, the main residences of the French court. Louis XV recognised its importance in 1783 when he named it a Royal Manufactory.

For the first ten years, Oberkampf block-printed his textiles. He only adopted the copper-plate printing process, used for this fabric, in 1770. Many steps were involved in producing the finished textile. First the copper plates were engraved with the desired design using a burin, in the manner of plates for fine art prints. The plate would then be coated with a mordant, a solution that would react with the dye during the dyeing process, binding it to the cloth. The cloth would then be printed with the plates by hand before finally being immersed in vats of dye for the design to take.

Jouy's reputation lasted well beyond its closure in 1843, monochrome printed textiles of this type often being called toiles de Jouy (literally 'cloth from Jouy') to the present day, despite the fact that many of the textiles produced in this way came from other centres of production such as Nantes.

One of the most famous events of the French Revolution is depicted on this valance : the Fall of the Bastille (14 July 1789), a royal fortress which commanded the eastern side of Paris and which was considered to symbolize the monarch's despotism. Here citizens are seen dancing on its ruins, and Louis XVI is shown swearing an oath to maintain the new French constitution on the altar of the Nation in the presence of Lafayette on horseback, and national guards bearing flags (1791).



object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Plate-printed cotton
Brief Description
plate printed cotton, ca. 1792, French; 'The Celebration of the Federation' (La Fête de la Fédération), designed by Jean-Baptiste Huet, manufactured by Oberkampf, Jouy-en-Josas

Physical Description
A scalloped valance of cotton plate-printed in red depicting the Fall of the Bastille, and the Confirmation of the Constitution in 1791, in which Louis XVI swore an oath to maintain the new French constitution; Louis XVI is shown taking the oath of loyalty at the Altar of Liberty while Marie Antoinette and the Dauphin pledge allegiance. Lafayette is in the background. In another scene people are dancing on the ruins of the Bastille.



The scalloped lower edge is bound in linen tape. The top and right edges are cut, and the left edge turned in and sewn to the lining. There are three pieces of the fabric seamed together vertically. One seam is approximately central, with two selvedges joined, and a fairly accurate pattern match. The other is close to the left edge, with raw edges joined, and the pattern not matched. The valance is lined with cotton.
Dimensions
  • Maximum length: 840mm
  • Maximum width: 1920mm
Gallery Label
Bed valance with revolutionary scenes About 1792 Revolutionary symbols were found on a wide range of domestic goods. This printed cotton depicts some of the most famous events of the French Revolution. It shows the Fall of the Bastille, with a group dancing on its ruins, and the confirmation of the constitution in 1791, when Louis XVI swore an oath of allegiance to the new regime. France (Jouy-en-Josas) Manufactured by Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf Designed by Jean-Baptiste Huet Plate-printed cotton Family label for Europe 1600-1815: This fabric would have hung on a bed. It shows people singing, dancing and saluting the French Revolution, which began in 1789. Having something like this in your home suggested that you supported the Revolution. What big event would you like printed on your bedcovers?(09/12/2015)
Object history
Purchased from the Forrer Collection.









Historical context
This valance is likely to have been used as part of a set of bed hangings.
Subject depicted
Summary
This cotton was printed at the manufactory established in 1760 by Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf (1738-1815) at Jouy-en-Josas, a village propitiously situated between Paris and Versailles, the main residences of the French court. Louis XV recognised its importance in 1783 when he named it a Royal Manufactory.



For the first ten years, Oberkampf block-printed his textiles. He only adopted the copper-plate printing process, used for this fabric, in 1770. Many steps were involved in producing the finished textile. First the copper plates were engraved with the desired design using a burin, in the manner of plates for fine art prints. The plate would then be coated with a mordant, a solution that would react with the dye during the dyeing process, binding it to the cloth. The cloth would then be printed with the plates by hand before finally being immersed in vats of dye for the design to take.



Jouy's reputation lasted well beyond its closure in 1843, monochrome printed textiles of this type often being called toiles de Jouy (literally 'cloth from Jouy') to the present day, despite the fact that many of the textiles produced in this way came from other centres of production such as Nantes.



One of the most famous events of the French Revolution is depicted on this valance : the Fall of the Bastille (14 July 1789), a royal fortress which commanded the eastern side of Paris and which was considered to symbolize the monarch's despotism. Here citizens are seen dancing on its ruins, and Louis XVI is shown swearing an oath to maintain the new French constitution on the altar of the Nation in the presence of Lafayette on horseback, and national guards bearing flags (1791).



Bibliographic References
  • Toiles de Jouy : French Printed Cottons, by Sarah Grant, V&A Publishing, 2012. pl.60. Dated at ca. 1790; subsequently updated.
  • Toiles de Jouy : Classic Printed Textiles from France 1760-1843, by Josette Bredif, 1989, p.144.
Collection
Accession Number
1682-1899

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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