Old textiles were always something that I would buy, when I could, while I was out stocking for inventory. Amelia Handegan is a well-known designer from Charleston, whom I very much admire. Several years ago when I saw this room she had done in Southern Accents , I was determined to find aubergine toile fabric, so I would be ready to do a room similar to this one day.
So who better to call for toile then my French source, Julia? Julia is an English lady who lives in France and specializes in French fabrics. Of course, she did have aubergine toile, which I did buy, but I sold most of it and I’ve never been able to do a room like this. Two years ago I was on a huge mission for brown toile. I was able to purchase this beautiful 19th century brown toile from Julia, which she pulled from her own private collection. I still have this toile and I’m keeping it! She told me that brown is very hard to find, and when she comes across certain pieces she puts them away. I do believe her, because I never see 19th century brown toile and I do make it out here and there. The name of the pattern is “The Miller, His Son and the Donkey” and it is a Toile de Jouy. Jouy-en Josas is the area the toile was manufactured in.
I got this just in time before I was to host Thanksgiving dinner two years ago when we first moved to Nashville. The week earlier, I walked into one of my favorite retail stores to buy a roaster for our turkey and had found they had done a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner setting with a brown toile tablecloth. I’m thinking to myself, I have the old that I will use for pillows but I would love to have a new brown toile tablecloth for my Thanksgiving dinner.
I’m currently thinking, after looking at September issue of Cottage Living that I’ll have the chairs redone in a neutral with our monogram on the back. Thanks again, Cottage Living! Not because I think toile is out, but because I do tend to move a lot and my husband will not let me have them redone for another 10 years. A very knowledgeable textile dealer once said to me, “Retailers have pounded toile to death”. Afterwards, I thought to myself, toile pursers, wallets, coin bags, notebooks, pens, bags, plates, trash cans and yes tablecloths. All in all, if you happen to love toile or hate it, I still think it's a true classic in my book! Oh, and I still have the bits and pieces that she advised me to tuck away.
With that I’ll talk about vintage purses tomorrow.