by Aziza Gril-Mariotte
decorative arts,interior design,textiles,fashion,pattern,childhood
In the eighteenth century, education rather than childhood became a real challenge for the philosophers. The making of the ‘new man’ now came by way of childhood, at a time when the child is seen as an entirely separate being and an adult-to-be. The feeling of childhood, to recall the words of Philippe Ariés, is reflected in the printed textile. At the end of the eighteenth century, these representations evolved into the placing of the child at the centre of the family, reflecting the arrival of a middle-class society in which the child’s education became a real focus. Between the second half of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries, the presentation of childhood was changing, the fabric makers following the taste and motifs spread by the print process. Starting with the biggest French manufacturers between 1770 and 1840, we will see how the idea of childhood was spread via the fabrics designed to persuade the biggest number of buyers to choose them for their interiors. And we will see how, in the nineteenth century, these designs promoted a real dialogue centred on the child.
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The English version is available in the hardcopy edition of issue 2.2 and online: