During the 17th and 18th centuries the French bourgeois middle class stimulated the emergence of a simpler French style. This style became known as the French Provincial. The style was just as popular in the city as well as in the country. It is still a popular style today.
The furniture, textiles and decorative items selected were more modest than the traditional high styles favored by the aristocracy. The elements of the Louis XIV and Louis XV styles were simplified. The highly craved detailing was replaced to become florid and curvilinear.
Louis styles simplified
Solid timbers; oak, walnut, apple, cherry and pear were still used. Chairs were usually smaller. Tied-on cushions or upholstery were used. Ladder backs or rush seat chairs and tall clocks in timber cases became popular.
Style varied from region to region
Walls were paneled in light wood or fabric. The finishes understated less showy than the Rococo and Louis styles. High gloss surfaces were avoided to reduce the high maintenance of the more elaborate styles. The style varied from region to region and local timbers were often used.
Simple cotton or linen curtains with pastoral scenes
Window treatments were also simpler. Printed linen toiles in bucolic pastoral scenes have become a hallmark of the style. Toiles de Jouy fabrics were first created in the French village Jouy – en –Josas in a factory run by German brothers in the mid 1700. The brothers had engaged in some industrial espionage going to England to find out the secrets of copper-plate printing.
Tolie de Jouy fabric hallmark of the style
Toile de jouy is cotton or linen usually a light-colored fabric printed with designs of landscapes and figures often used in upholstery or for curtains. The early Toile de Jouys were usually in one or two designs stripes or floral. The range gradually extended to include a variety of narrative patterns. The most popular were idealised romantic depictions of rural life and chinoiserie.
French Provincial is elegant, casual and contemporary
The Provincial style has an elegance which is typical of the French yet it still has a warm causal sense of welcoming intimacy very much in vogue today. Below is a sample board in the French Provincial style create on sample board. I have also listed the items used. When you create a sample board on sampleboard.com this is all done for you.
1. Warwick – Astor Ecru fabric
2. Christopher Living – Provence Trummeau Mirror
3. Graham Brown – Damask Wallpaper
4. Linea – Chandelier
5. Christopher Living – Louis Sleigh Bed
6. Graham Brown – Damask Fabric
7. Warwick – Atmosphere Air sheer fabric
8. Warwick – Astor Adana Ecru
9. Christopher Living – Richelieu Rug
I will continue to explore the wonderful world of French Provincial Style in future blogs.
Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly stated
“Style is the dress of thoughts”
The French are very good at this.