The room of a magnificent stately home photographed in the early 1900's,
and below, the same room 100 years later having been re-walled in silk by my mum, Fiona Wemyss.
A BRIEF HISTORY
OF FABRIC WALLING
400 years ago families would move from their principal residence to their summer house taking their furniture and valuables with them; a process that included large and beautifully woven tapestries or 'arras hangings'. Very little furniture was upholstered in those days and these decorative wall hangings were valued not only for their beauty but for the very practical reason that they gave the cavernous rooms a feeling of warmth and comfort.
By the late 17th century fashions had changed. Fixed wall coverings and upholstered furniture had replaced the tradition of 'moveable' items. In the Duchess of Lauderdale's bedchamber in Scotland, for example, the room was decorated with hangings of red and white Indian silk, which matched the upholstery of the chairs and cushions. It was from these historic origins that 'fabric walling' began and it can still be seen to this day in historic houses. You only have to enter a walled room to experience the wonderful quality of comfort and unique acoustics it provides.