15 March 2011

Outreach Program

A woven fabric used in the London flat of Pauline de Rothschild. Private collection.



Does anybody out there have any idea what company manufactured this pretty stuff, as the U set calls fabric or material?* And if it is still produced?

Woven with chinoiserie motifs such as lanterns and chrysanthemum-like blooms, it was used to drape the canopy bed in Pauline de Rothschild's London flat, in the early 1970s. She apparently brought the fabric to this much admired project, not her interior decorator John Fowler. Its original source remains, thus far, unknown.

Per the baroness's idiosyncratic directive, the graphic black-and-silver fabric, which has a subtle moiré pattern worked into the background, was used on the reverse. She preferred that side's more subtle, silver-and-black colorway (see below).


Rothschild preferred the paler reverse of the fabric. Private collection.

* When Princess Margaret's husband, Lord Snowdon, born a commoner, told her how much he hated the material used for the dress she was wearing, the royal snapped, witheringly, "We call it 'stuff'."

15 comments:

Brillante Interiors said...

After having seen your blog on several blogrolls I decided to take a peek...too bad, now I will spend more of my time reading another blog. From the title to Oscar Wilde's quote to the intriguing posts, I love everything. No idea about the wallpaper, for a very different, simple approach I have seen a monochrome wallpaper on http://stuartmemberyhomecollection.blogspot.com/2010/12/someday-our-prints-will-come.html

HOBAC said...

Wish I could help. Wish I knew.

If this is purely academic, might I suggest you ask at Edmond Petit as it looks like their work (and not a million miles off that stripe used in that bedroom with the Chinese wallpaper). On the practical side, if a small quantity is needed I'm sure Gainsborough could accommodate. Marvic could be another place worth consulting as they have an extensive archive and still do moires produced in France.

little augury said...

Look forward to your solving this mystery-No doubt You will, however-I can not imagine that anyone should know-but you.

farmschool said...

I can't help at all with the fabric, but remember from conversations with my late Viennese grandmother that the German word for fabric or material is "stoff" (with the "s" pronounced as sh). Perhaps a legacy from Victoria via Albert, or perhaps the Battenbergs...

Becky

ross said...

The fabric is wonderful and romantic, but at work I shop for fabrics everyday and I've never seen anything like it. Try Claremont at 62nd and 3rd Avenue, they would have something similar.
Cheers!

Square With Flair™ said...

With regard to Maggie, interestingly, the German word for fabric is "Stoff." The chinoiserie aspect is charming because it is understated. I am reminded of Van Day Truex's statement to a Parson's student who was using Chinese decoration, "Be careful or it will end up looking like a chop suey palace."

Lanky Pauline likely found a bolt of it at some antiquarian, and it would be difficult to trace. I think it might be from the 20s because 19th century Chinese themes were so much more emphatic than this. It looks more modern, between Edwardian and Art Deco.

Dabney said...

Those are very common Chinoiserie motifs. You see them in a lot of fabrics. For fabric, I think Scalamandre might have something similar from not so long ago. For wallpaper in a similar style, you might look at some of the Williamsburg reproductions.

Penelope Bianchi said...

I have actually seen this. Now I will have to rack my memory...where and when. If only I could develop the film in my head! Then I could label it!

I am working on retrieving it!

Love calling it "stuff"!!! Terribly "U"!!

columnist said...

I think PM was just being particularly difficult, and showing the trait for niggling each other that they were both good at.

What do non-Us call it? Don't tell me, "stuff"?!

The Swan said...

There is a Wizard of Oz of Fabrics - Keith McCoy & Associates on Melrose Avenue. He has been involved with Vintage Textiles for decades as well as a vendor of some of the most exclusive fabrics in the World of Textile...even helpful to Museum collectors.

310.657.7150

VictoriaArt said...

Interesting, I love the search for a mystery fabric or anything antique for that matter! Good luck, I am unfortunately of no help!
But I agree with Farmschool's comment the word stuff might really stem from the German Stoff! Meaning fabric!
Please keep us posted!

Carolyn said...

What a romantic fabric! Love it so much. I look forward to your solving this mystery. :)

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Jola said...

First of all, heartfelt congratulations to this blog - I found it by accident and was right away feeling at home. Wonderful!!!
Concerning the "stuff", I would in any case say that it is french. As far as I can make it out, it is woven, not printed; the fact that it is a moiré means it is silk pressed together, but this you will know yourself already. My idea would be to look into such old french houses like "Le Manach", "Lelièvre" or "Houlès" (which now belongs to Pierre Frey, as does "Canovas") and have a go at their archives. Another possibility is the Musée des Tissus in Lyon, France. Or, if they do not recognize it, perhaps the Textilmuseum on Krefeld? Those are the two places you could start to look and ask...

Mark said...

It is an old fabric from La Manach which is available through Claremont ( It was sold at Brunschwig before most of you were born) I have only seen it in red/taupe and blue/taupe colorways.
Mark

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Unfortunately, an executive at Georges Le Manach has told me, quite clearly, that the fabric is not one of the company's products.