Stepping into Antoinette Poisson’s studio in Paris, you feel a serene and cosy atmosphere. In the foyer, the scenic wallpaper offers a warm background for a newly upholstered antique sofa, folding screens and tastefully arranged printed cushions. The soft colour palette and the brand’s signature patterns highlight the exquisite elegance of domino papers, a virtually forgotten decorative art until this budding atelier took the chance to revive the legacy of the French Dominotiers.
Before wallpaper could be produced in continuous rolls, single sheets called “dominos” were printed and coloured by hand. These decorated papers reached their heyday in the 18th century and were typically used for lining chests, boxes and books, occasionally adorning the walls of intimate rooms.
Julie Stordiau, Jean-Baptiste Martin and Vincent Farelly were studying paper conservation when they met in Paris. They bonded over their mutual interest in antique papers, and after graduating in 2006 they went to work as freelance restorers, often collaborating on conservation projects across Europe. In 2011, they gathered to restore a state owned mansion in the Auvergne region where the 18th century domino wallpaper was in very poor condition and had to be reproduced.
‘We’d seen domino paper scraps before, usually as book endpapers or lining the backs of picture frames, but it was the first time we actually had to treat a whole room. We suddenly realised it was a vanishing craft when we failed to find an artisan who could reproduce the dominos from the original documents for us. Since we had the skills and knowledge, we agreed we would do it ourselves,’ explains Julie Stordiau.
When this challenging project was completed, they couldn’t help but admire the striking effect of pattern repeats revealed by the 250 sheets pasted together. Their enthusiasm prompted them to join forces to launch their own firm, named after the Marquise de Pompadour, born Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson and widely known as patron of the arts and mistress to King Louis XV…
We have a selection of handmade notebooks from Antoinette Poisson available in the Selvedge shop, click here to view.
To read this article by Anne Laure Camilleri in full, order your copy of Selvedge issue 76 here.