Let’s take a journey back in time to a place just steps from the Bastille… and to a world colored by « des papiers dominotés ».
I’ll be leaving this afternoon to meet the talented, creative artisans who work at L’Atelier Antoinette Poisson (The Antoinette Poisson Workshop).
These three young restorers of our French heritage, Julie Stordiau, Vincent Farelly & Jean-Baptiste Martin, are successfully realizing their goal : to reintroduce les papiers dominotés (domino patterned decorative paper) to France.
Their passion for la dominoterie began during the renovation of an old estate…
While renovating an historic estate, the three discovered, behind many layers of wallpaper, remains of some papier dominoté which they’ve decided to restore to its original glory. Since then, they’ve been engrossed in their desire to preserve this French tradition.
To restore the estate, they’ll be reproducing the missing wallpaper, using traditional techniques all the while. Therefore, they’ll have to draw resources from one of the only remaining chiffon based paper manufactures, located near Angoulême, to obtain their base materials.
If you’d like to discover more about the above-mentioned manufacturer, I encourage you to read this article, which is posted on the Antoinnette Poisson website.
The Creative Process :
As it was done in the 18th Century, the team prints each pattern in black first and then later adds color by hand to each black sheet, using either a stencil or a brush; the sheet thus produced (35 x 45 cm) is called a Domino.
The domino patterned papers are then glued onto a wall, just like the wallpaper of today !
To learn more about the technique, click here.
The restoration site gave birth to the Atelier Antoinette Poisson (The Workshop of Antoinette Poisson) whose name commemorates the Marquise of Pompadour (born Jeanne Antoinette Poisson). This marquise, a favorite of Louis XV was known for being a French art and luxury material enthusiast : materials like porcelain, fabric, interior decorations and wallpapers…
A brief history of French Dominoterie :
In France, these decorative papers were most popular during the second half of the 18th century. At the time, the papers were made by dominotiers, a type of artisan who, in addition to creating the above described decorative papers, produced playing cards as well. Each paper stamp was patterned either geometrically, florally or with checkers.
The dominotier’s workshop was modest; he engraved his own wooden stamps or used what was called an artisan’s engraver. At the time, each strip of paper bore the name and location of the factory where they were produced; additionally, each strip included a plate number, to mark whichever stamp had impressed it. To continue the tradition, each piece of paper produced at L’Atelier Antoinette Poisson bears the name « À Paris chez Antoinette Poisson ».
At the time, France had many manufacturing locations : Paris, Chartres, Le Mans and Orléans… The papers were produced by the thousands ; consequently, they were not very expensive.
For this reason, the papers were used to decorate and protect the interior of boxes, trunks, drawers and cabinets, yet they were most widely used as book covers.
Upon entering L’ Atelier Antoinette Poisson, I felt as if I was in a different world, just take a look at the cabinet and papers pictured below ! Since last year, the workshop also offers fabrics and cushions woven in Mayenne, which bear exclusive patterns.
And now in Versailles Castle …
The workers restor the shops of the Palace of Versailles.
I won’t forget to post photos of the finished shops soon !
You can visit the workshop’s website and see shops around the world : antoinettepoisson.com