Jean-Baptiste Réveillon


Jean-Baptiste Réveillon

Jean-Baptiste Réveillon, (Paris, 1725 - Paris, 1811) was a French wallpaper manufacturer. Réveillon's career was an exemplary story of the self-made businessman.

Life

Réveillon apprenticed as a tradesman, haberdasher and stationer. In 1753 he began to import and hang flock wallpapers from England. The "papier blue d'Angleterre" became very popular when Marie Antoinette, decorated her apartments with them. During the Seven Years War Reveillon starting to produce wallpaper himself, marrying well and using the dowry to produce velvet paper, pasted up into rolls and using fast colours, developed by Jean-Baptiste Pillement.

In 1759 he moved to the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, then a neighbourhood dominated by the various crafts associated with furnishing. Réveillon launched production of a full range of wallpapers. The dukes were exited and in 1765 - already extremely wealthy - he bought a mansion, with a parc and a theatre inside "La Folie Titon", formerly owned by Évrard Titon du Tillet. The production of wallpaper was inside.

In 1775 Réveillon opened a paper mill to improve both the quantity and quality of his paper supply. In 1776 he opened a shop near the Tuileries. Ambassador and kings came to visit and buy from him. Réveillon himself dabbled chemistry enough to discover a new process for making vellum paper in 1782. The following year he was granted permission to use the title of "Manufacture Royale".

His purchase of the paper mill and expertise in paper production brought him into contact with Etienne de Montgolfier, and it was from Réveillon’s garden at "Folie Titon" that the first hot-air balloon was launched on 12 September 1783. Réveillon delivered a special and colourfull wallpaper, used cover up the balloon. A second balloon, called "Le Réveillon", with a rooster, a duck and a sheep was launched a week later at Versailles. On the 15 of October his employee André Giroud de Villette and Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier went into the sky, as pioneers of ballooning, but it was not a free flight.

"In the year 1789 Réveillon was the casualty of his own ill-digested reflections on modern economics. 'Since bread was the foundation of our national economy' its distribution should be deregulated, permitting lower prices. That in turn would allow lower wage costs, lower manufacturing prices and brisk consumption." [S. Schama (1989) Citizens. A Chronicle of the French Revolution, p. 325-330.] On the 28 of April 1789 his mansion was destroyed, all the wallpaper, glue, furniture and paintings were burned, except 2,000 bottles of wine. Réveillon and his family escaped by climbing a wall and fled to the Bastille, with the help of his friend Jacques Necker. It was a bloody day, some say 25 other believe 900 people died. The rioteers were savagely repressed, in an opening episode of the French Revolution. Today plaques mark the site of the Reveillon riot.

Réveillon moved to England and rented out his manufacture to Jacquemart & Bénard, who produced wallpaper till 1840.

References

External links

* [http://www.museum-kassel.de/index_navi.php?parent=1600 An example of Réveillon's Neo-Classic wallpaper in Kassel]
* http://www.artnet.com/library/07/0716/T071654.asp
* http://cerig.efpg.inpg.fr/histoire-metiers/nicolas-robert/page02.htm


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