Article in two parts.
Part of a special section on National Trust historic houses and collections in England and Northern Ireland. The writer discusses the furnishing of Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire, England, between ca. 1450 and 1550. She describes the contents of a 16th-century inventory of the castle’s textiles, which include hangings depicting religious and political subjects and rare carpets. She compares the Tattershall inventory with that of Caister Castle, Suffolk, to determine the distribution of hangings and bedding among large communal rooms and the smaller rooms of the household members, suggesting that the large amount of mattresses and bolsters listed at Tattershall were used in the keep’s 20 small rooms and in adjacent buildings. She stresses Tattershall was commensurate with its occupier’s royal connections–the first Duke of Suffolk, who was Henry VIII’s representative in Lincolnshire.
This innovative book examines the changing ways in which the domestic interior has been represented in the West over the last five hundred years. Looking at a rich array of depictions of the home, including paintings, novels, television, film, diaries, sketches and photographs, Imagined Interiors deals with both public and private attitudes to the domestic interior and features everything from grand decorative schemes to homely cottages. Published in association with the Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior.
The writers discuss two English state beds, the Belvoir State Bed at Belvoir Castle, Lincolnshire, and the Drayton State Bed at Drayton House, Northhamptonshire. The first was commissioned from the talented French upholsterer, Francis Lapiere, by John Manners, 9th Earl of Rutland, in 1696. The second bed dates from 1700-02, and its frame is attributed to the French upholsterer Etienne Penson, who later anglicized his name to Stephen. Its superb embroidered hangings are the work of Elizabeth Vickson and Rebekah Dufee. From the relevant documentation, the writers examine the creation and history of the beds in detail.
The Roger Warner Collection of historic textiles was given to Temple Newsam by this private collector who acquired many fabrics during his fifty year career as an antique dealer. They were mostly furnishings bought at country house sales. The rest he inherited from his grandfather, Metford Warner, who was the owner of a leading Victorian wallpaper printing firm, Jeffrey & Co. of London. Metford Warner collected pieces of textile from many sources as design inspirations for his wallpapers. As a result, many of the fragments have especially interesting or unusual patterns. The textiles range from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, and include both furnishings and dress fabrics. There are silks, cottons, linens, and embroidered pieces, all of which together are able to provide an insight into developments in pattern design and manufacture.
The place and character of domestic textiles in the farming economy of the Derbyshire district known as Bowden Middlecale, England, in the 17th and 18th centuries are examined. Focusing in particular on four hamlets within this district, the writer assesses the extent to which the domestic textile industry was a basis for the introduction of new workshops and factories for cotton–an entirely new fabric to the region–at the end of the 18th century. He subsequently contrasts the New Mills area with other textile regions that were also undergoing changes, especially the Pennine Lancashire fringe, in order to highlight the particular circumstances of the New Mills area and therefore emphasize the regional variety of the cotton industry in its early development. He shows that in New Mills and adjacent hamlets, the particular nature of the rural industry in the ‘long’ 18th century made the region appropriately prepared for the age of cotton, with evidence indicating a direct path from domestic industry, through workshops, to factory industry.
The writer discusses clothing and textiles mentioned in the volume of 166 probate inventories of 1617-20 published by the Bedfordshire Historical Record Society in Bedfordshire, England, in 1938. The volume was a pioneer work in the detailed study of probate inventories, particularly those of people of lesser rank–husbandmen, yeomen, artisans, and laborers. The inventories show textiles and clothes in people’s homes, along with other household possessions, often recorded room by room as they were when the owner died; those completed with details of clothing bring more clearly to the mind’s eye the men and women who were living and working in Bedfordshire in the early 17th century. The writer discusses the range of clothes recorded in the inventories, including items of men’s and women’s clothing, details of fabric and color, examples of household linen, evidence for spinning and weaving within such households, and evidence for the making and buying of clothes at this time.
The writer discusses the preservation of the vast collection of 17th-century royal upholstered furniture at Knole house in Kent, England. Although the National Trust has taken great care to preserve the rare old upholstery, there is growing evidence that it has been subject to many interventions in the past. This suggests that in the late 19th or early 20th century, the old textile covers were repaired and some even renewed, but that this was done in a sympathetic manner that respected the antique appearance of the surviving pieces, with similar old fabrics found and reused to patch up what had survived.
Covers the period 1685-1760. Includes well-illustrated analyses of furnishings such as beds, curtains, wall hangings, seat furniture, and case covers. The primacy of upholstery and the influence of dress on interiors are considered.
Covers the period from the late sixteenth century to the twentieth century.
Includes discussion of carpets and floorcloths.
The materials and construction of a rare and remarkably well preserved 17th-century state bed are described and its conservation is outlined. The bed was reassembled for the first time in 15 years as a rehearsal for its installation in the British Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2001. The benefits of the rehearsal are evaluated. The risks of reassembling the bed with its fragile textile elements are assessed, and the measures needed to minimize handling and protect the original materials are described. The planning process for the rehearsal was a valuable collaboration between conservators, curators, and technical staff and yielded much information about both the history and construction of the bed.
Traces the history of the craft of passementerie in York, from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century.
The writer discusses the use of fine fabrics in the interiors of Cannons, the country house of James Bridges, 1st Duke of Chandos, in Edgware, England. By the early 18th century, the fashion for decorating rooms with expensive silk damasks, brocades, and wool velvets for wall and bed hangings, door curtains, window curtains, and seat furniture had become well established, and the integrated ‘upholstered room effect’ had led to the creation of a significant number of sumptuous and elaborate interiors designed to display the wealth of the owner. At Cannons, the Duke of Chandos created several sumptuously decorated upholstered rooms furnished with the most expensive available fabrics and trimmings; the most lavishly decorated were the Bedchambers, with most of the expense taken up by the price of bed hangings.
Queen Charlotte’s state bed (1772-78), a silk-embroidered canopied bed, underwent a change of color scheme from the original cream and yellow to cream and purple. This change, which still physically exists, has always been regarded as Victorian. As it has degraded, the ‘Victorian’ purple silk satin has been replaced with the yellow silk satin where necessary. During the most recent conservation treatment, to conserve the last remaining purple silk satin, an inscription was discovered that cast new light on the story of the bed. This report discusses the challenge this inscription has presented. To date, no written documentation has been found to explain the reason for the color change. This puzzle challenges curators and conservators both in its interpretation as well as the appropriate treatment strategy. Through the use of dye analysis, careful inspection, and reversing previous treatments, the object has offered clues to its history. Research is continuing to re-establish a link between the object and the archival records.
Published to accompany a conference at the Barbican Centre and exhibition at the Hayward Gallery.
The textile furnishings of Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, England, particularly those of Bess of Hardwick (1518-1608), are discussed. Hardwick Hall, despite the depredations of time, contains the most significant collection of original 16th-century furnishings in England, and Bess was involved intimately in their acquisition. Particularly important to her were the embroideries and pieces of needlework, of which there were about 100 pieces in 1601, ranging from chair backs, stool covers, and cupboard and table carpets to a bed and set of wall hangings with borders and applied motifs of needlework.
Includes discussion of painted textiles of the sixteenth to eighteenth century.
Towards the end of the 15th century, fine, plain table linen was imported to England from the Low Countries and France. Patterned table linen was called diaper in England and dornik in Scotland. After 1520, certain diapers were described as ‘of damask work’’ and, towards the middle of the century, damasks were classified separately. Some evidence indicates that damasks found a wider public as the century progressed, although generally this table linen was expensive. The patterns imported from England seem typical of those that survived in Europe, which are not, however, necessarily representative since generally the best and most expensive pieces survived.
This article charts the changing use of particular textiles for bed and wall hangings by the ‘middling sort’ in London between 1660 and 1725, using some 1470 inventories of City freemen, filed in the Court of Orphans. It also tracks the, sometimes surprisingly dramatic, changes in colour preference. Both the materials and colour are then compared with data on bourgeois interiors in Paris. Having established what choices were made, the questions of how and why they were made are explored, including a discussion of certain economic, technological, social and cultural factors that may have influenced such decisions.
The State Bed from Melville House in Fife, Scotland, is the most spectacular single exhibit in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new British Galleries. The bed was made for George, 1st Earl of Melville for the Apartment of State at his new palace in approximately 1700. The bed is over 17 feet high and retains its original luxury hangings of crimson Genoa velvet with ivory Chinese silk damask linings embroidered with crimson silk trimmings. It was inspired by the recent history of the Melville family and customized for George and Catherine Melville with their conjoined cipher on the centerboard and in the center of the counterpane. The bed was intended as a personal status symbol, as a gesture of allegiance to the monarch, and as a symbol of the royal favor the Melville family enjoyed. It was preserved as an heirloom by the next generation, and documentary evidence, together with the pristine condition of the bed, would suggest that it has never been slept in. The bed’s style, upholstery, dimensions, costs, and installation are discussed.
The first section discusses the materials, construction, design and patterning of quilts. The second considers the historical and cultural contexts of quilting. An appendix is included: ‘Selected References to Quilts in Wills, Household Inventories, and Accounts (1400-1800)’.
This article explores the role of textiles in the home in the later eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. The methodology adopted is a response to the difficulties of researching homes in this period when probate inventories had largely ceased to be made. Instead of using quantitative analysis, this essay focuses on three case studies of homes where detailed lists allow speculation on the uses of furnishing textiles in these homes. Three themes are identified: conspicuous consumption, domestic ideology and the possible meanings of stored textiles. These themes are explored using recent cultural theories to provide a framework for analysis.
The writer discusses the Green Closet, a 17th-century cabinet room at Ham House in England. The cabinet room was an original part of the house, which was built in 1610. The closet derives from the Italian studio or studiolo, a room designed for study and for the storage and display of small paintings and works of art. The Green Closet is an exceptional example as it has survived with most of its original contents. The original emphasis in the room was probably on paintings, miniatures, and drawings. The coved ceiling was decorated with Italianate paintings, the walls were hung with fringed green damask, and the furniture included Japanese lacquer cabinets and two long stools. From 17th-century inventories, the picture hang has been restored and the textiles faithfully reproduced; with the contents and decor mostly intact, the closet has reemerged as a European locus classicus.
Part of a special section on King William III’s apartments at Hampton Court Palace, England. The writer details the fundamental role played by surviving documents and fabrics in the refurbishing of the State Apartments at Hampton court. Many documents survive, as do two canopies of state and the crimson velvet state bed that were placed there in William’s reign. Considered together, these serve to increase the understanding of the use and importance of fabrics and trimmings in the late-17th-century interior. The writer gives a detailed account of the restorers’ use of the remaining fabric and of the extant documents that describe the fabrics used.