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A History of Provence Fabrics - French Tablecloths

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Published on Jun 12, 2009

Provence is a region of southeastern France on the Mediterranean near Italy. The region is named Provence because it was the first Roman province outside of Italy. Provence is a wonderful part of France, it is known by its olive trees, lavender fields, poppies, sunflowers, cicadas and rosemary. This region is filled with ancient villages and it offers an enticing blend of beautiful landscapes rich with history and culture. Many artists, such as Picasso, Cézanne and Renoir have sought creative inspiration in Provence.

During the mid 17th century, Cobert, Ministry of Louis XIV, founded the "Compagnie Française des Indes Occidentales" and he began to import the printed fabrics through the port of Marseille. Because of their exotic nature and bright colors, these fabrics called indiennes were very expensive and sought after by French nobility. Later in the century, the fabrics manufacturer, Louvois, attempted to sanction the import of the Indian fabrics. Eventually the printing knowledge of the Indians and Persians was learned by Jean de Valdrôme, a navigator, who brought the technology back to France. The prints were carved into wood and then hand printed on the fabric with natural dyes such as indigo and madder. The new knowledge resulted in the birth of the Provencal fabrics during the middle of the 18th century. As time passed, the original Indian ornamentation and designs were replaced by local motifs and colors. The colors and patterns were captured in the paintings by artists such as Van Gogh and Cezanne.

In current times, the production of the original Indian patterns and colors has all but disappeared. The provencal motifs now represent the elements found in the Provence region. These are lavender, olives, sunflowers, cicadas, mimosas, lemons and also wheat. Instead of using wood to manually print the patterns onto the fabric, now the process is completed using large metal rolls or plates designed for fabric printing.

http://www.lescouleursdeprovence.com

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