Painted Cloth Wall Hangings?

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply

Painted Cloth Wall Hangings?

Post by Dansknecht »


I've read a number of references to painted cloth wall hangings used to decorate lower and middle class homes during the second half of the 16th century, does anyone have any sort of visual documentation for them?

I'm looking to produce a few, but am at a loss for images to base them off of.



User avatar
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:38 pm


Post by gaukler »

Here is a link to my wife's paper on medieval painted cloths.
Gaukler Medieval Wares

User avatar
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Post by gregory23b »

Barbara's article is excellent btw, very inspiring and requried reading IMHO.

Painted cloths date back to well before the Tudor period, variously described as painted/stained and hallings.

Varied in price and complexity and style.

Nicholas Mander's article is also superb, his gave me the impetus to do some practical exploration. Mr Mander is the owner of Owlpen Manor.

Not many survive, the ones that do are often the very best, but every now and again something crops up.

Extant examples of non hanging based painted textile include:

the Hesset Burse, a church purse, English painted and gilded, now in the BM, early 15thc.

Dierc Bouts - Annunciation and ressurection, high quality distemper on linen paintings.

A number of banners etc.

But the written documentation is IMHO more interesting than the extant ones, there exists a description of English stained cloth practice in a French document. So we have a good idea of not just object, materials but also the process.

Inventories show up large quantities of them in people of modest wealth levels, stained cloth is the very very cheap cousin of tapestry, the former in pennies, the latter in many many pounds. ... cloth.html
are using silk dyes, not traditional techniques, further more, silk does not need priming unless you are laying gold or silver over it, you can paint directly onto it. But the site is useful to give an idea of scale of some of the works.

In terms of imagery:

combinations of the above.

Also sort out whether you are doing water work, which is thin paints applied to the cloth, not thick like a painting, they were the remit of painters not stainers, although the painters and stainers guild of London had amalgamated in the early 16thc.

Also think crude, not badly executed but crude and looks good at a distance rather than fantastic at all distances.

Stained work was by nature cheap.
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

Post Reply