Chic Redux

This post started as a bit of a valentine to Jennifer at The Peak of Chic. Last May, she posted about one of her top ten fabrics, and while I already admired her eye, with that post, I knew we'd be friends. You see, Le Lac, by Brunschwig and Fils, is one of my favorites, too. In fact, I have a large remnant as the repeat is 81" and I had to have it for my living room curtains.

So, flipping through the much-mentioned vintage magazines, I ran across this:

Uh-uh, wait for it.

The main library of the Carcano estate, Estancia San Miguel, in Argentina. House and Garden, Jan. '86.
The chintz, en suite, vaulted ceiling and a library to boot. Note the sisal rug with the antelope skin on top. I mean, stop. But then, and here's the thing - you have to read the articles, don't tell me you just look at the pictures, I can't stand it- the article tells me the fabric is a design of Philippe de Lasalle (1723 - 1804.)

We didn't cover Philippe de Lasalle in my broadcasting classes. So, to the web. Seems M. de Lasalle was a fabric designer and merchant.
Design for silk weaving, with Alter of Love. 18th c. gouache and watercolor, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
While little is known of his early life, although he was apparently an orphan, he apprenticed under several silk manufacturers and merchants. He was known for his painterly affect, a artist's eye for space and balance. As was popular in his day, he used a lot of realistic flowers, birds and insects in his designs.

Les Perdrix (The Partridges) Silk, circa 1771, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
It is a special skill to translate the concept of a painting to a loom. de Lasalle was known for perfecting a technique called point rentre, basically, outlining the figures in black. While he did not develop this relief effect, it helped increase his celebrity.

Silk and linen, for the summer palace of Catherine II, Art Institute of Chicago.
And he was a bit of a celebrity. His friend, Voltaire, recommended his work to Catherine the Great; she commissioned several pieces for the Russian Palaces. One critic claims he was a combination of artist and businessman, catering to a very select high-end clientele.
Seems Jennifer and I are in good company.

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