From the Archive

Ta­pes­try por­tières of 1915.

Arts and Crafts Homes - - CONTENTS - —Bo Sul­li­van

Be­fore por­tières were shown the door, they were de rigueur in taste­fully fur­nished homes. De­picted is a se­lec­tion of the many pat­terns for door­way FXUWDLQV RƪHUHG LQ WKH 6W /RXLV Mis­souri, com­pany’s cat­a­log dur­ing the bun­ga­low era.

RICHLY COL­ORED PORTIéRES had been pop­u­lar since the late 1870s, keep­ing warmth in and drafts out be­fore cen­tral heat was com­mon­place. Fre­quently sold in pairs and hung be­tween liv­ing room and en­try hall or din­ing room, they were a soft sup­ple­ment and later sub­sti­tute for heavy pocket doors.

By the Arts & Crafts era, lux­u­ri­ous yet af­ford­able damask and ta­pes­try por­tières were ef­fi­ciently mass-pro­duced on Jac­quard-type looms in gor­geous tone-on-tone or multi-color pat­terns. Widths var­ied from 36" to 54", but the length was typ­i­cally 100" to 108"—sized to al­low the top 18" to 24" to be thrown over a wood or brass rod and stitched to hang per­fectly in a stan­dard to 80" to 84" door­way.

For ro­man­tic de­signs, the warp threads were run long, then gath­ered and tied off into fringed ends. In­creas­ing the “ex­otic” fac­tor, fringe treat­ments usu­ally dif­fered top and bot­tom; the elab­o­rate up­per fringe added tex­ture and weight to coun­ter­bal­ance the over-rod hang, while smaller bot­tom fringe was prac­ti­cal, al­low­ing air to flow through the door­way with­out the cur­tain mov­ing. a

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