Publication details for Dr Mary BrooksBrooks, Mary M. (2016). ‘Mouldering Chairs and Faded Tapestry Unworthy of the Observation of a Common Person’ Considering Textiles in Historic Interiors. Textile History 47(1): 63-85.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0040-4969, 1743-2952
- DOI: 10.1080/00404969.2016.1144847
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
Textiles occupy a paradoxical position in historic house interiors. Once one of the most significant elements in many decorative schemes, they have slipped down the hierarchy of decorative art objects, partly because of modern perceptions of textiles, partly because of their dual aesthetic and functional roles and partly because, if not properly cared for, they become faded, dingy, holey, unstable, ‘unworthy’ echoes of their former selves. This article examines the impact that degradation has on textiles and how they are perceived, focusing on colour, surface, texture, lustre and completeness, previous interventions and conservation strategies. It explores changing attitudes to visible degradation — fading, losses, holes, alterations, repairs — and considers how curators and conservators may engage with these complex changes and their implications when planning interpretative and interventive strategies in historic interiors. It considers how recent developments in conservation theory and practice can contribute to this ongoing challenge for display and interpretation.