Nowadays commonly referred to in the English-speaking world as Provençal prints, it is the generic term for a small, colourful pattern printed with carved blocks onto calico.

Originally imported from India to France during the mid 17thC, these richly printed cloths, or toiles peintes, were so loved by Parisians that by 1675 the provincial towns of Nîmes and Avignon had built their own thriving businesses of hand-printing les Indiennes (meaning the Indians). As in India, the vibrant colours were traditionally made from natural dyes, and the distinctive designs adapted over time for decorative home accessories–as tablecloths, bedspreads…


See also toile de jouy, boutis, paisley, les olivades, soulieado .

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