A Brief History Of Curtains And Drapes

A curtain, occasionally known as a curtain, is traditionally a bit of cloth intended to block or vague light and drafts from a window. A curtain can be known generally as a moveable screen or drape in a theatre which separates the stage from the auditorium and serves as a background.

Although the words curtains and curtains are used properly, drapes differentiate themselves by integrating lining sewn into the reverse side of the cloth for the purpose of shielding the harmful UV rays from rotting the silks and fading the color dyes. Linings may also be used to (dim-out or blackout) external light from entering a room, which is really where the term Blackout Curtains is often used. Linings also provide an immediate aesthetic function by adding into the drapeability of this fabric; additional weight helps to anchor the curtains and generates a more complete and luxurious window therapy.

Curtains have a history nearly as long as fabrics, but there is much hesitation about where and how to hang them. Mosaics in the 2nd to 6th century show drapes suspended from rods spanning arches.

Before central heating and air conditioning, people did not always have to pick light over heat. Curtains of one form or another have been used to define space and create privacy.

Ancient cloths were linen and flax, first spun in ancient Egypt, followed by wool and later cotton and silk.

Until the latter part of the 16th century particularly in England, window drapes were virtually non-existent. Instead, custom pinch pleat drapes were used to keep out light and cold. When drapes did eventually make an appearance, they were made from one piece of cloth wrapped on an iron pole with iron rings sewn onto the fabric, and drawn from one side of this window.

Window drapes were still rare in 17th century England, normally found only in significant rooms in expansive homes. In late 18th century England, easy, straight drapes were still widely used, often tacked straight onto the window frame. By the 19th century thinner draped drapes were utilized in pairs usually hung from poles that were often decorative with decorations such as laurel wreaths and rosettes. The Regency and Empire style generally consisted of full length drapes monitoring on the floor and trapped by curtain hooks to keep them out of the way during the day. Under curtains were extremely popular by now and were more often than not a much lighter fabric like silk or muslin.

From the 1900’s techniques, fibres and dyes revolutionised the textile business and curtains and window and window dressings became more prevalent in both wealthy and working class houses.