How to Decorate with Manuel Canovas Toile Fabric and Green Rugs

If you are willing to think outside the box, you can have a lot of fun looking for a green rug to go with Manuel Canovas Spring 2013 fabric introduction Jouvence, a Toile De Jouy depicting architectural ruins of classical Rome and Greece in lime yellow, green and white. Since Toile De Jouy has such an interesting history, I looked for a green rug with a similar historical pedigree. What is more historical than a green rug in a Greek key pattern specially if it has yellow, green and white that complement the fabric. If the pattern of the toile had not been classical architecture, a Greek key rug would not have worked. At the same time if the colors of the Greek key had not resonated with the daring colors of Manuel Canovas, that would not have worked either.

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Above Fabrics: L-R, T-B: Manuel Canovas’ FOCH, BLAISE, COLORADO, Cowtan & Tout’s ARIEL, Manuel Canovas’ JOUVENCE in Anis is a Toile De Jouy with architectural and garden scenes from  classical Greece .

Below Rug: Adelphi YG Oriental Rug is a green rug with yellow and white accents in a greek key pattern found in ancient mosaic floors.

Three Tips for Pairing Green Toile De Jouy Fabrics with Green Rugs

1. Find a green rug that resonates with the history of the pattern of the toile fabric

Since the pattern of the Jouvence Toile De Jouy depicts classical Greek architecture, a Greek key rug is historically compatible. Rugs from other historical periods would also be compatible if they also met criteria 2 and 3.

2. The pattern of the green rug should compliment and balance the pattern of the fabric

The pattern of this Toile De Jouy has a nice balance of architectural, garden and pastoral themes. The simplicity of the geometric greek key pattern looks pleasing with the fabric. At the same time the small scale of the greek key pattern has a calming effect on the energetic pattern of the toile.

3. The colors of the green rug should either balance or complement the colors of the fabric

If the fabric has only cold colors such a blue and green, then the rug should have some warm colors such a yellow and gold. If the colors in the fabric have a good balance of cool and warm colors then the colors of the fabric can be complementary. The Manuel Canovas Toile De Jouy has  balance of cool greens and white and warm yellow so so the green rug can be in colors that are complimentary to the colors of the fabric.


Here is a Brief History of Toile De Jouy Fabrics and Greek Key Rugs:

History of Toile de Jouy

In the 16th and 17th centuries when cotton was first imported into France from India, it became a huge success because in comparison to silk and wool fabrics, cotton fabrics were light, colorful and easy to wash. Such huge quantities began to be imported that the French government became alarmed at the drain on its treasury and the damage to French silk and wool manufactures, that in 1686 they banned the import of cotton. But despite this the fashion for cotton thrived until in 1759 the government finding it impossible to enforce, lifted the ban.

20 year old Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf had just moved to Paris from his native Germany where he had learnt his father and grandfather’s cloth dyeing business and within a year he and his employer opened a cotton printing factory near the Bièvre river whose clean water was considered good for dyeing.  

Toile de Jouy

The Toile factory at Jouy in 1807. The cloth is laid out in a meadow so it can be bleached by the sun. Water was sprinkled six to eight times a day for six days to facilitate the bleaching process. Image courtesy Le musée de la Toile de Jouy and

In the early days of the factory, the cloth was printed with wood blocks in which the pattern was carved in relief. In time wood blocks were replaced by engraved copper plates. The copper plates made it possible to print patterns with finer details and with larger repeats. No longer were designs limited to floral and geometric patterns.  Oberkampf commissioned renowned artists such as Fragonard and Boucher to design pastoral and architectural scenes with people and even exotic animals.

The literal translation of Toile de Jouy is cloth from Jouy. However, today toile means a single color print of a pastoral or other scene.  

History of Greek Key Rugs

The Greek key pattern goes back so far and is found in so many different ancient civilizations, it is impossible to say where it originated. Classical Greece could have derived it from the Minoan civilization of Crete, who probably borrowed it from the Egyptians. What is amazing is that the “Greek key” pattern is also found in such far removed civilizations as the ancient Chinese and Aztec.

A testimony to the enduring appeal of this motif is that today it is considered modern and fashionable.

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The mosaic floors found in ancient Greek and Roman palaces were the forerunners of today’s Greek key rugs. The Greek key motif is one of the oldest and most enduring patterns in human history.


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