Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Toile de Jouy and Transferware ~ A Black & White Tablescape

Toile de Jouy pronounced twal duh zhwee derives its name from the fabric that was first manufactured at the Oberkampf factory in Jouy-en-Josas, a village located SW of Paris. The factory became famous for its monochromatic toiles (meaning canvas or cloth) which were printed in red, blue, or black, on a white or cream background. 

At first, the Oberkampf factory produced only floral designs block printed with wood blocks. In all, more than thirty thousand block print designs were utilized to print fabric there. 
In 1752, Francis Nixon, of Dublin, Ireland, designed an improved way to print fabric. He discovered that engraved copper plates and a cylinder system could transfer designs to cloth. This required less manpower than wood block printing, and was more cost effective. An added benefit of copperplate printing is that the design area repeat could span up to as much as a yard, whereas wood blocks were only 10" wide.

Oberkampf, wanting to stay abreast of new technology, eventually obtained a Swiss machine capable of printing fabric using copper engravings. Drawings produced from copper were more precise and detailed than those produced from carved wood.  One story tells that while in England, Oberkampf discovered the secrets of etching designs onto a copper-plate roller.  He and his brothers secretly copied directions for this process on cotton percale fabric, using an alum solution tinted with red dye, and then dipped the fabric in vinegar to render the writing invisible until after they crossed the Channel.  Another story tells that Oberkampf sent some of his key workers abroad to learn new technologies.  One of his employees brought back from Switzerland a machine able to print fabric using copper sheets.  Whether the first or second story is true, it remains indisputable that Oberkampf significantly expanded the market for toile, and himself became famous.

Later, idyllic scenes featuring the French countryside were predominant. Many of these pastoral motifs showed people at work and at leisure. Hunting scenes, which depicted a favorite pastime of the well-to-do, were also favorites.   

An interesting toile, Les Traveaux de la Manufacture (The Activities of the Factory), 1783–84, designed by Jean-Baptiste Huet depicting 14 different scenes of the copperplate printing process

And here, a room using this pattern on the walls:

French royalty were among Oberkampf's strongest supporters.  The fabric had great appeal to the upper classes who enjoyed it for home decorating.  Amongst these upper class-men, Benjamin Franklin was visiting England when he first became aware of toile. He promptly purchased some to bring home to his wife.  Of course, being an inventor, Franklin was quite interested in the new copperplate printing process.  This has me wondering about a letter he wrote regarding the transferware printing process  and its development.  Had he toyed with the idea to print on ceramics using copper plates after learning about the toile printing process?  You can read that post HERE (very interesting!)  After all, it was in 1751 when John Brooks, an Irish engraver who obtained the first patent for the transfer printing process, and 1752 when Francis Nixon, also Irish, discovered it could be used for textile printing.  Independently, in England it was John Sadler and Guy Green who  invented,   developed and perfected the technique of transfer printing on ceramics in 1756.  Perhaps Franklin learned of the copperplate process and thought about its application to ceramics before it was made so famous in England?  He was a printer by trade so his curiosity in various printing processes would be natural.   Hmmm...I love connecting these historical dots, or maybe just imagining connections.  Fun to ponder either way.

Ok, on to why we're here tonight...Tablescape time.  In honor of classic French toiles, French manors (posted yesterday) and of course my favorite thing: transferware,  tonight I've set a table with pastoral black on cream toile and black transferware depicting a French Country Manor house.

  My tablecloth is actually two drapery panels which I've overlapped. 
I then used vintage French scrolled iron hangers (not sure what these were originally but I have normally hang them as toppers over pictures in my family room) laid flat and topped with a scrunched up valance. 

The fabric which makes the valance and placemats is Waverly's Country Life.  The valance is darling and comes with checked or striped tie ups.  You can buy one from Custom*Cottage*Creations for about $20!  This shop owner does custom valances, table-runners, place mats, napkins and napkin rings.

For my centerpiece I chose to lay a white alium wreath  flat on a fish bowl stand and placed two French garden statues of children holding their rabbits in the center.

Do you notice a little something here?

Somebunny wants to get in on the snuggle love.  This is one of those little flower pot hangers. 
 The placemats match the valance and are custom made by Carol at Custom*Cottage*Creations.  She's currently got some of these on auction.  I like the oval shape and even more, I like that these are so versatile with their ticking striped backs.  You can use either side, but I chose the toile in keeping with my French pastoral theme.  Carol takes custom orders and you can email her directly at or contact her through her ebay store.  Her email is: 
The embossed border black transferware depicts a French country manor home. 

I used two flatware patterns, one is my standard Towle and the ivory forks are Hampton. 

Can you believe these napkin rings are only $3.99 for a set of eight?  That's right.  Carol has several different patterns, toiles, florals and gingham's as well as different color variations.  I think all of us table-scapers need several sets of these! 
Oh, she made the ticking striped napkins to...I only have two of them and used them at the host and hostess seats.

At the host and hostess settings I used the striped napkins and striped valance tie ups running vertically over the place mats.

I thought these vintage Tiara tumblers looked great with this setting.  They are black glass and I found a set in its original box.  My kids all commented on how much they liked them.  They are pretty cool.  The clear goblets are some that the kids and I etched  at Grandma Judy's annual Christmas party.  She has all the Grand kids over for a day of cookie baking and decorating and lots of crafts.  It's always so much fun and I'm sure will be wonderful memories for all the kiddos.  She bought glasses for each family member and then we all etched our initials and/or designs onto them.  The etching is so subtle that I couldn't get a good shot of it.

I tied the host and hostess glasses with a piece of vintage black French lace...just kidding about it being vintage and French.  I cut it off one of Ashton's shirts that no longer fits her. ;-)

Other French inspired elements finish out my table:
Hand stamped candles with a French sentiment and music notes.

I tied a handstamped rosette with a Paris ribbon around the candle base.

Vintage bull planters filled with white roses

A circa 1880 Aesthetic transferware vase by Ridgway topped with a ball of creamy white roses.

Boy and girl at the well figurine
And, muslin bags hand stamped with the Eiffel Tower hold after dinner mints.  These are for sale at A Little Scrappy.
The table at night with candles lit.
The seat covers are actually pillow covers with a gingham check on the back...also from Custom*Cottage*Creations.

Linking to these magical places:

Vintage Black Friday at The French Cupboard
Centerpiece Wednesday at Style Sisters
Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday
Jenny Matlock for Alphababe Thursday
Toot Your Horn Tuesdays 
Vintage Thingie Thursday at Colorado Lady
Hodge Podge Friday @ It's a Hodgepodge Life
Thrifty Thursday at Tales from Bloggeritaville
Frugalicious Fridays
Feature Yourself Friday
Frugal Friday
Trendy Treehouse Blog hop
Tatertots & Jello
Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
A Few of My Favorite Things at Bargain Hunting with Laurie 
White Wednesday @ Faded Charm
Home is Where my Story Begins 
The Blackberry Vine for Pretty Packages Party
Charm Bracelet Diva


  1. Nancy, your table is full of elegance. Thank you for sharing all the interesting information and showing us these lovely black transferware plates. The embossed rims really set off the center image. I always enjoy a black and white themed table. Thanks for sharing. ~ Sarah

  2. Toile, ticking, transferware are some of my most favorite things. I love how you used things not regularly used in table settings, like the scrolly thing, drapery panels etc. It's all very beautiful and inspiring.

  3. Oh Nancy...I LOVE this table setting!!!
    ooh la la...It's just beautiful, your black transferware dishes are to die for! I love your Ivory Hampton and Towle Sterling too!
    Total Yumminess :) The whole table is sooo elegant!
    Oh, I love the use of the Eiffel Tower Bags with all the other lovelies on the table!!! Everything just looks so nice, I love the whole French theme!

    I really enjoyed reading your article, it was so interesting ...thank you :)
    xo Sally

  4. You did such a great job with your table, and I absolutely love your plates and all of the toile. You did a super job, and I never would have guessed you used curtains for the runner... it is just perfect with those statues at the center. And those black goblets are so wonderful with the way they are shaped, and how neat that you all etched the clear goblets. What a fun thing to do with your kids! Loved this SO much. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Tablescape Thursday!


    Sheila :-)

  5. That is so pretty! Glad the Irish had something to do with it! :)

  6. Nancy,
    Love these dishes!! Very interesting info on the toile. I love how you arranged everything and especially how you have used fabric. One of the nicest and easiest ways to transform anything is with fabric. Enjoyed your French manor post too.

  7. Beautiful table, Nancy...those dishes are gorgeous, I love the simplicity of them. The powder horn tumblers look so nice with the dishes. The vase is my favorite piece on the table, though!

  8. What a beautiful, elegant table! So interesting about Benjamin Franklin. Those goblets are so unique. Your dishes are just gorgeous.

  9. Nancy, This is french oppulence! I honestly don't know what to comment on first! I love the toile fabric the black transferware, the black horn goblets, the centerpiece, the candles with the french paper flowers, the chair, the placemats, the way you mixed the two different types of flatware.... and on and on. So over the top beautiful. You really have outdone yourself. My favorite! I'm going back for a second look and to study all it's beauty again! YOu are a master tablescaper!

  10. An absolutely beautiful table! Love black & white...along with the ticking, toile and transferware.

  11. To try to choose one favorite part would be a fruitless endeavor. This is simply stunning both individually and as the full package. I love the ticking and toile and gingham all combined. And those candles? lovely.

    A beautiful job.

  12. Nancy, you created a lovely and elegant table for us! I love the black and white color scheme, especially the toile and ticking. Beautiful table!

  13. My comments are not going to do justice to my feelings about this table, but I'm going to give it a shot...absolutely beautiful! I have always loved toile especially in black, thanks so much for the history/background. I also have enjoyed seeing your various pieces of transferware in previous entries. This particular set is gorgeous, I've never seen this pattern before. Your centerpiece is spectacular...all the little "extras" make your table so interesting to view. I could look at it for hours... it's elegant, classy, and extremely inviting. As always, thank you so much for sharing, this is breathtaking!

  14. The textures of your layered linens are the perfect complement to the embossed rims of your gorgeous transferware plates...and I adore toile! The black goblets are so special; I can imagine them in so many designs. Elegant table, and the history of toile is quite interesting. I want to go back and study it more carefully. Thank you for sharing your design. Cherry Kay

  15. Oh Nancy, your table is stunning! I love the wrougth iron scroll, so original and I love the children figures.Everything, the toile and the dishes are just beautiful!...Christine

  16. You set an amazing table. I love all the photos. Great selections for all the details. Of course sharing the information about toile was an extra treat. I love toile print and I think black is the most facinating.

  17. Just gorgeous! Love the toile and especially those oval placemats, perfect shape and that they are reversible! The centerpiece is so unusual but interesting!

    Happy 100th week of TT to you!


  18. Nancy, I am always delighted to learn about the background informations of the things we use. Thank you so much for sharing all your interesting knowledge about the things, I appreciate that so much.
    And what a pretty oppulence shows your table. Your garden figurines add a very romantic classy french touch to this formal table setting. What a cute sense of humor you have to add this little bunny, which begs to be cared, too. It really touched me. I learned on your blog to appreciate transferware. But this time you have choosen a design that really thrills me. The embossed border make it to real treasures. So beautiful! And the prints are so pretty to that and so accurately sewed. The table is really an eye-candy. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    Greetings, Johanna

  19. Wow! Such sheer elegance takes my breath away!

    Always a delight to visit your site,

    Have a lovely weekend,


    PS Mine this time is HERE. Hope you can join me!

    Absolutely breathtaking tablescape!

    I love, love,love the centerpiece!!

  21. Nancy, Your table is beautiful. I have never seen those dishes before. And I really like to learn the history of the transferware. Your centerpiece is adorable and the placemats are perfect! Linda

  22. Very elegant table. I really enjoyed learning about Toile de Jouy. Black and white is always distinctive!

  23. Nancy, this is one of your best tables! just perfect- I love the black and cream color combo. All your touches are so elegant
    xoxo Pattie

  24. ooooh... I knew I would see a beautiful tablescape here, Nancy! Your dinnerware is gorgeous, I love the b/w theme, and everything is set "just so." Thanks for all the background info, too.
    :-) Sue

  25. I love the whimsey mixed in with such a formal setting. Shows people can be formal without being stuffy.

  26. that was fabulous, i love creative minds that just pull in everything to make for a wildy fun table! picture perfect...

  27. Your table is so classic. I love all the interesting things to look at in the center. The black stripes and toile are really pretty.

  28. Nancy, those black transferware plates about take my breath away and then all the detail that you added to the table to bring everything together I felt like I was in a different time and different place! Just smashing! Joni

  29. Beautiful table-settings.
    Eye-candy photos.
    Best wishes,
    Anna's little musician

  30. Wow, where do I begin? I love the dinner plates. Love them! And the cow planter? I adore! What a magnificent study in black and white Nancy!

  31. Wowzer, the tablescape is magnificent. It is just so beautiful. Very elegant and not a table that you would come to with jeans and a t shirt, ha. I loved everything about this.

  32. Beautiful table! Loved the info on textile toiles!

  33. WOW! Everything is really beautiful Nancy! Your home is gorgeous and very inspiring.

    Have a blessed day.
    ~Melissa :)

  34. Fantastic!!! Black and white, so chic!
    Love your addorable centerpiece.
    Everthing looks so beautiful!


  35. Nancy...what a STUNNING tablescape. You are hands-down, the queen of toile!

    Another lovely visit to your blog :)


  36. I enjoyed reading about the toiles.

  37. Toile de Jouy and transferware are two of my favorite things. Thank you for another very informative post. :-)

  38. Perfectly charming, gorgeous and inspirational as always. Thanks so much.

  39. I just love this tablescape. It's all so pretty and elegant. Those plates are stunning - and the silverware - I just love all of it. The red toile is really pretty, too.

  40. Absolutely stunning...when is the dinner party...I want to find the right black dress....Love all of it...beautiful...bkm

  41. Black and white transferware... Be still my heart! Thanks for sharing.

  42. always!!! What lovely dishes...Have a great VTT!

  43. I decided today to make the time to visit a few "new to me" blogs for Tablescape Thursday. I'm so glad I picked yours. This is truly outstanding. You have given such thought to detail, I love the black and white and the history lesson was very well written. Everything is beautiful, I really enjoyed my visit.


  44. As a lover of toile AND transferware, I had to look at each of these photos more than once. What beautiful plates! All of the layered fabrics are so pretty together. You have put this all together beautifully. laurie

  45. Quite a gorgeous table! I love the look but cannot use it much in my home. Does not fit it at all.

  46. Keep me in the link on your new store, please. I'll spread the word at my end of the turnpike and see if I can generate some business for you. Cherry Kay

  47. Oh my goodness! I am a first-time viewer of your wonderful blog. You are so talented and your tablescape makes me want to run to the kitchen and grab some wine, good cheese, and a crusty baguette! I adore black and white and there are so man elements to your table I can't pick a favorite...oh wait, love the children in the center and the muslin bags. You are soo clever and I will now be a follower.

  48. Nancy, Your table is absolutely gorgeous! I love the black and white theme. I have Country Life Toile in my guest room and it is one of my favorites.
    Hugs, Sherry

  49. Oh my, this is totally exquisite. Wow. I love every single detail about this tablescape. Your china is stunning and all of your accessories are breathtaking. Totally love it. Hugs, Marty

  50. Hi Nancy, You know I am a sucker for toile and these plates in the black and white are so fabulous with it! I love how you layered the fabrics in the napkins with the cloth and the candle with the writing is perfect! You always go the extra mile setting your table. This one really delivers!

  51. I would have never thought of using black and white for the tablescape....but it looks incredibly dramatic.

    For your convenience, Here Is My Show and Tell Bargain Link. Hope to see you visit with me.

  52. How beautiful this is! I have those same placemats from the same seller -- I agree, she's marvelous! Thanks for giving me some great ideas here - I love this look.

  53. Wow Nancy,
    Magnifique' I'm not normally a fan of black and white, but this table is soooooo exquisite.
    I am in awe. I could look at the over and over and see something different each time........

  54. Wow, this is very impressive and so stunning.... You thought of every detail.... and the plates is something I have never seen before. I enjoy setting tables too and this was a big treat to see.

    You did a fabulous Job Nancy!!

  55. Omgosh, It's me again, I forgot to mention and I had to say I like how your creative mind came up with that ravishing centerpiece... that's the only way I can describe it.

  56. Oh, Nancy, my comment may get lost in the tumult but, please, let me add my sigh and gasp!!! This is so absolutely elegant - and, unusual, I might add! Usually one thinks of a black and whit table as art deco. =] But, this reminds me of Christina Strutt. Her black and whites are "old fashioned" yet very vogue at the same time, too. Lovely!

    Love, Katy

  57. Its amazing!! What a feast for the eyes. every spot has some little hidden treasure. Fantastic job.

  58. Nancy~ ~I enjoy visiting you so much. Do you have a spot set for me I would love to eat at this stunning table. I adore the cherubs in the center and all the layering. Just my cup of tea!
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  59. Love the black & white toile~ I'm in love with your garden statues as your centerpiece and those embossed transferware plates are to die for!

  60. Nancy, what an amazing and elegant table setting! Our Alphabet Soup will look fantastic in that setting.

    You have such a flair for decorating and layering and accessorizing. Have you always been good at that? You make it seem so natural.

    Thanks for all the great information and the lovely pictures. I really enjoyed stopping here this week!


  61. Nancy your table is absolutely gorgeous!! I love the transfer ware and the cream and white and black. The little cow is adorable!!

  62. I love your table setting. Great details. The black and white looks just so great together.

  63. Beautiful tablescape! Just love all the details. I love seeing all the beautiful transferware you've collected...soooo pretty. Love the round placemats, too. :)
    Happy 100th TT!

  64. Nancy, your scapes are always so full of attention to minute details and beautiful moments. I love it all!! I am using that toile or similar in my master suite. I love that you have 2 bull vases.

    Your kids will be so shocked if peeps don't make such a fuss over them like their beautiful mother does. lol

  65. Wow! Love it! Love it!
    Everything is sooooo beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing!

  66. So elegant and beautiful. Makes me want to hop on a plane to Paris right now.

  67. Oh Nancy, this may be your best yet. I love those plates. They are so different! I love the whole table.

    Hope to see you at Summer Sunday.

    - The Tablescaper

  68. G'morn ~ What an interesting bit of history & elegant decor. I love toile ... but those plates are simply fab! 2D4 presentations.

    Have a beautiful day.
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  69. Beautiful table!, I love everything….very clever ideas.

  70. The cherub's with the wreath are absolutely elegant. Love the look with the toile. You have quite a flare for decorating!! Thanks for inviting us into your home.
    Be blessed,

  71. WOW! This is absolutely fantastic!!!! We are doing black and tan in our dining room and I am just amazed how black, tan or cream looks so great together!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  72. Oh my Nancy,
    how lucky of me to have found your marvelous blog. You are a girl after my own heart!
    I'm also addicted to toile de jouy and transferware. be it red, blue or brown makes no difference. It was love at first sight and now Iove to be surrounded by TRNSFW.
    Your white and black table scape is so charming and chic.
    I'll be back again for more inspiration

  73. This is sooo beautiful that I am going to try to "collect" my own version of these pieces. Wow!

  74. What an elegant table! I LOVE the little muslin bags! Thank you so much for linking to my PRETTY PACKAGES PARTY!

  75. I came to the party, too. This is my darling daughter-in-love's blog. I enjoyed perusing the toilescape again. Cherry Kay

  76. Beautiful table - all your details are amazing!

    Party and Entertaining Inspiration

  77. Helllloooo amazing! Gosh what can I say it is so fabulous...I love me some toile and this is just over the top amazing!


  78. What a beautiful post. I love reading history of textiles. Your tablescape is fabulous too.

    I'm visiting for Vintage Black Friday...I'd love for you to drop by for a visit.

    Happy Day,

  79. What a stunning room and a fascinating post! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and talent with us.


  80. I would LOVE to know where you purchased the black and white toile placemats and the napkins and rings that go with them. I am doing my kitchen with black and white toile with some yellow. I appreciate your help and hope to hear from you. Thank you. Angela Hartley

  81. Hi Angela,

    There are links in the post to the shop (Custom Cottage Creations) who made the place mats. Her name is Carol. Please let her know that you saw the placemats on my blog. She makes napkins, napkin rings and valances. Her prices are VERY reasonable!


  82. What beautiful photos and tablescape! Red and black toile are my favorites! Thanks for linking up to my Do You Toile? Party. It's open until 12 tonight CST if you have any more gorgeous toile to share!


  83. So nice to find you while doing a bit of research for my blog! I have used that toile as wall paper in beige tones!

  84. Of course, I'm crazy about this post. Do you ever have any of the transfer pieces with the French manor house for sale? What is the name of this pattern? Thanks

    1. Hi Kim,

      I actually sold this entire tablescape to a customer...all but the figurines which I kept and found her something similar to mine. The plates are by Steubenville, and American company, but I do not know the pattern name. I've searched for more and have not yet found any! They were really beautiful. Should I find more, I will let you know. Several people have asked about them.



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