Friday, February 19, 2010

Interiors of the Grand Tour

The rich and luxurious interiors of Renaissance Italy were unbelievable. The walls were decorated with frescos by the great artists of the day. Ceilings were nearly always gilded and boldly carved. The floors were inlaid with marble. Oriental rugs were used on tables and sometimes hung on walls but not often used on the floor.

Opulent fabrics damask, velvet and silk brocade added to the richness of the atmosphere. Furniture was limited. The large gilt beds had curtains of crimson silk and sheets hemmed with gold tread. Dinning tables were very simple boards and trestles covered with damask cloth, velvet or oriental rugs.

If you are interested Stuart Interiors have a selection of renaissance textiles.

Italian homes did not have a room set aside for dining. The table and rarely upholstered chairs were moved from room to room. In the memoirs of a Sicilian Prince he remarked it was his practice to dine in whatever room he fancied. He apparently did this until his death in 1957.

Brass nails were used to attach fabric to the roughly made table and chairs. Cassone is a chest or coffer made in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries. A credenze or sideboard was also one of the few pieces of furniture used at this time.

All in all Renaissance Italy was a feast for the eyes and the grand tour visitors had difficulty finding the words to fully describe the wonders of Italy.

'The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is 

life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a 

hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it 

moves again since it is life'  

William Faulkner

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