Saturday, 8 May 2010


18C. design chinoiserie fabric

Braquenie were the foremost designers and printers and weavers of fabrics, tapestries and carpets from early 18c. Their printing blocks and copyright were acquired last century by Pierre Frey who have reproduced many of the old patterns and some are still printed with the original hand-blocks.
French beds are one of the glories of decoration! I am thinking of the 18thC designs, with carved and painted detail, elegant pillars and legs, crowned with wonderful draperies, swags and frills with exquisite trimmings in fringes, braids and tassels. This picture gives a glimpse of one decorated with Braquenie silks and shows the immense amount of skilled work that went into its decoration. The red and white Chinoiserie model is really more to my taste as I just love the amusing pattern of a Chinese man swinging on a branch in his quaint costume. In the past I have had all kinds of brackets and bars, coronas and baldaquins to affix the drapes over beds; some for one end of the bed and the others sometimes for sideways fixing like the second example with its deep pelmet. These curtain arrangements were necessary in the old days for total privacy in bed, when there were no corridors in houses and people passed from one room to another. They also kept out the draughts and
protected sleepers from the falling debris from above, when roofs were left unlined and there was no plaster ceiling to keep out the insects, birds and other invaders.


  1. I did not realize there were other reasons for the bed curtains except for warmth or privacy! Very interesting article! Thanks for visiting and posting a comment about the yellow hill. I talked to someone in the local grocery store and they thought the crop was Canola. I looked up the flower and yes, that is it. So you were right! With the intense color and fragrance I wonder if it would make a good cut flower.

  2. Oil seed rape is a mixed blessing for beekeepers (I used to be one) as it produces a lot of nectar but the honey itself is very poor flavour and sets rock hard, enough to bend a spoon. It does however set with a very fine grain so is usually mixed with other better flavour crops before being bottled. I find the scent very cloying and I drove through miles of it yesterday in the Cotswolds, and in the bright sun the yellow was quite dazzling. Regards Elizabeth