Toile de Jouy
A Fabric with Roots in the Eighteenth Century
by Patricia Cummings
photos by James Cummings
What is Toile de Jouy?
Toile (pronounced twahl) means "cloth" in French. “Toile de Jouy,” or “toiles deJouy,” are terms that refer to fabric that was first manufactured at a factory inJouy-en-Josas, a village located southwest of Paris, near Versailles. Founded in 1760 by German-born Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf, (1738-1815), a textile entrepreneur, the factory site was chosen primarily because of its proximity to the clear running water of the Bièvre River. Oberkampf knew that water is a crucial element in the dyeing process. Only the highest quality goods were used in the production of the factory's printed fabrics made of cotton, one reason for the enterprise’s success."