Thursday, 3 October 2013


18c. block- printed quilted bed covers, lined in handwoven hemp. dyed indigo and rose madder

In a previous post I mentioned the overhead canopy of 4 poster beds often acted as a protection against debris from the unplastered ceilings of ancient houses - the curtains were also there for a specific purpose - to provide warmth and shut out draughts and noise - bedrooms were often shared with the large families and often there were low truckle beds for them which pulled out from under the larger beds. Privacy was also highly necessary with heavy quilted and lined curtains enclosing the whole bed. In the very old houses, all the rooms led one out of another with no passages or private doors so life was very communal whether you liked it or not! The curtains and valances from these beds can be very interesting and because they are lined and hand stitched all over, sometimes with a little wadding, they can be re-used for doorways, window pelmets and trims for more modern 4 posters - I always used to have a selection of these (about 16 ft long) to go right round the canopy, in flamme (ikat) weave, toile de Vichy pink checks, and red Toile de Jouy, and occasionally in block printed 18c. flower and arabesque designs, which are the most desirable of all, wonderful colours and superb original designs, still being copied but never equalled today!
Alas! I no longer have any of these as the decorators were always hot on their trail, and anyway they were very rare to find in good condition and large enough for modern four-posters.

1 comment:

  1. I know they were beautiful
    I am sure decorators hovered over them
    toile de Vichy pink checks, and red Toile de Jouy, are my favorite