Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Winterthur, Part Three

As part of my Winterthur tour, I was treated to a behind the scenes tour of their textile collection. Curator Linda Eaton, who by the way is incredibly knowledgeable, took us into the bowels of the house where boxes and boxes of textiles are carefully stored. Textiles like this one- an antique English valance:

Isn't the craftsmanship amazing?

Some of my favorite pieces were the antique Indian Palampores. This one, below, is simply stunning in person. Would you believe that it's early 18th century? It's in pristine condition.

As it was in the days of Henry Francis du Pont, curtains, pelmets, and slipcovers are changed out seasonally. Winterthur has a room that's devoted entirely to curtain storage! There are racks and racks of out of season curtains, while pelmet covers are carefully hung on the wall. Many of the curtains have tags sewn into the lining identifying which season they should be displayed. I wish I had taken a photo, but I was so amazed at the sight of this space that I simply forgot!

One of the greatest surprises to me was Mr. du Pont's bedcover in the master bedroom.

Does the fabric look familiar? Remember these photos from my recent posts?

Braquenié's Tree of Life print as seen in Givenchy's country manor and Braquenié's "Le Rocher" print.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I entered Mr. du Pont's bedroom and saw this fabric. It was almost identical to the Braquenié prints I've been obsessing about as of late. Linda explained that the du Pont fabric is yet another antique Indian Palampore with the Tree of Life motif. Many of these Indian prints were copied by European textile makers back in the 18th century.

It's crazy how this print seems to be everywhere I look!

The day ended with a tour of Winterthur's Licensing group. In case you didn't know, Winterthur has teamed up with companies like Stark, Brunschwig & Fils, Kravet, Currey & Company, and others to design lines of products that have been inspired by or are replicas of items in the Winterthur collection. The paper above, a Chinoiserie print, is part of the Winterthur Collection for Stark. As lovely as this paper is, my favorite is this one:

How beautiful is that? You should visit Winterthur's website for a complete list of product partners. There are a lot of nifty things in these collections!


  1. The textiles!!!!!! I thought that I had died and gone to heaven when those photos popped up. So beautiful and timeless. Thanks.

  2. Boy that is some beautiful stuff. Good design is always modern, isn't it? Can you identify the chinoiserie landscape paper below? I wish I could see more of it, thanks!

  3. I love Winterthur! We used to go there all the time to walk through the gardens. Such a delight!

  4. Empress of The Eye2:25 PM

    OMG! What a treat to get to see all of these wonderful textiles. I am truly jealous, and that takes something these days.

    I think you just got an early holiday gift.

  5. Waw, a memory to not forget ;-)


  6. Amazing! Those textiles are gorgeous. LOVE that last paper!

  7. I've so enjoyed reading all about your Winterhur visit - thanks for sharing all the great finds!

  8. Aw! Linda was my thesis advisor in Winterthur's MA program... I miss that place! Glad you had such a good experience there.

  9. Thank you for the intimate view inside Winterthur. How wonderful to find your favorite designs popping up.

  10. Jennifer, this is like a little trip to paradise for textile fans. I flipped for the palampore as I scrolled down and can't get over the bed cover coincidence !

  11. WOW. I can't believe the amazing condition these are in. But even more, that I recognize so many of them - it's incredible how long these designs have endured.

  12. The photos take your breath away. I think of the people that made those textiles and the craftsmanship involved. Winterthur is a place now on my 'bucket list'. This would take me over the moon. Thank you for sharing your terrific series. Really, really great. x

  13. Textile envy here. I know that this was a thrill to see. I am constantly amazed at the fine details in things such as that valance- all worked by hand. That fabric is on your List!

  14. Anonymous1:48 PM

    The only problem with Wintertuhr is one is so overwhelmed if you do the entire house in one day - but you are correct - and if you can stay over and also see the Longview Gardens you will have had yourself a trip of trips! And in the late fall, a lunch at the nearby Mendenhall Inn (hope it is still there!) will make the whole thing even more memorable!!

    Wonder memories - thanks for your post - especially the H D P bedcover!

    suzanne on St. Simons

  15. I didn't know this place but it looks divine and I love the bedcover . You always have the best post

  16. so chic and timeless.
    so inspiring.

  17. Thank you a million for leading us to that website. What brilliance for them to join with fabric houses and reproduce these amazing treasures! I wish more house-museums would do more of that!

    Simply gorgeous and so educational!!