Joubert Guest Post: Joubert Manual: A Path to Textiles Comprehension

Furniture, Textiles and Fashion
February 26, 2016

This week’s blogpost is from another participant of the workshop – Moira Dato, who is a graduate of Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, and is currently studying at the University of Glasgow.

I discovered Joubert in the first year of my masters, through my research in secondary sources in which he was quoted numerous times: he was referred to as an author, a designer, but as an ‘inventor’ (for the moire).  He appeared therefore, as quite an important person to look at!

I had the opportunity during the workshop in London to share my experience with Joubert’s manual: having previously written two master dissertations about French silks of the eighteenth century, the Dessinateur gave me access to both general knowledge and specific aspects of the subject.

Dress fabric, 1765-1780, French, 1267-1877. Victoria and Albert Museum

It provided me with precious information on design, but also, in a broader respect, on the creation process through commission and commercialisation: Joubert does not only give names of silk shops in eighteenth-century Paris, but also emphasises the relationship and communication between designers, merchants and customers.

The Patridges, Brocaded silk panel, Philippe Lasalle, c.1770, T.187-1931, Victoria and Albert Museum


For instance, he quotes mercers such as Barbier, Nau or Buffault, whose shops gather the best and most fashionable production of Lyon, a great source of inspiration for the designer and a means to not replicate what has already been done in the past; but he also recalls, in the damask’s chapter, that a drawing must above all be made according to the commissioner’s will and taste.

Therefore, the translation of this manual is a wonderful project offering numerous possibilities. For example, images of surviving textiles supporting the text could be used as one of the various methods that will bring it to life.

Silk Sack Back Gown, 1755-60, Lyon, T.235&A-1953, Victoria and Albert Museum


Version française:

J’ai eu l’opportunité lors du workshop organisé à Londres de partager mon expérience avec le traité de Joubert : lors de l’écriture de deux mémoires de master portant sur les soieries françaises au XVIIIe siècle, consulter Le Dessinateur m’apporta à la fois des connaissances générales et des informations plus précises sur le sujet. Celui-ci me procura de précieux renseignements sur le dessin, mais aussi plus largement sur le processus de création à travers la question des commandes et de la commercialisation : Joubert nous donne non seulement les noms de marchands de soieries dans le Paris du dix-huitième siècle, mais il porte également l’accent sur les échanges entre dessinateurs, marchands et acheteurs. Il cite notamment des marchands tels que Barbier, Nau ou Buffault, dont les boutiques rassemblent ce qui se fait de mieux à Lyon, et qui se révèlent être un lieu idéal pour trouver l’inspiration et éviter de reprendre ce qui a déjà été fait ; mais il rappelle également, dans le chapitre sur le damas, que la réalisation d’un dessin tient avant tout du désir du client auquel le dessinateur doit répondre. La traduction de ce traité est donc un excellent projet qui amène de nombreuses possibilités. Ainsi, l’usage d’images de fragments de soieries pourrait être l’un des procédés qui sauront mettre en valeur ce texte remarquable.

About the author

Furniture, Textiles and Fashion
February 26, 2016

I'm an assistant curator in the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion department. I'm particularly interested in the relationship between print culture and fashion in the eighteenth century, and I'm currently working...

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