Floorcloths, painted canvas coverings for floors, have been in use since the Renaissance. The early Elizabethan floorcloths were often painted to resemble the woven rush matting they replaced. Maison Vitry will soon have its own floorcloth gracing the upstairs hall!
Utilitarian floor cloths served multiple purposes. First they were easy to clean and protected wooden floors from stains and damage. Also they served to help cold from seeping up through floorboards. Floorcloths were particularly used in high traffic areas such as entry halls, passageways, and dining areas.
These useful floor coverings grew in popularity and were quite common toward the middle of the 18th Century and on to the middle of the 19th Century in Europe as well as America. Toward the end of the 18th and early 19th Century, floor cloths took on a distinctly neo-classical tone – often in imitation of marble flooring. By the middle to end of the 19th Century, with the advent of kamptulicon and later, linoleum, use of the ubiquitous floor cloth was coming to an end.
We have decided to do a floor cloth for Maison Vitry as it represents a typical floor covering/treatment from the mid-19th Century and would have been consistent with what Louise Vitry and Archille Courcelle might have had in their home. The colors and pattern are consistent with a mid-19th design and color scheme.
We received the floorcloth pre-cut and pre-primed from Lisa Mair of Vermont. Upon arrival, the floorcloth was first ironed. Once ironed, we covered the floor under the floorcloth with plastic and then began our first 2 coats of base coat in special, semi-gloss latex. The design was provided by Jacques Levet, Jr.
Future posts will show more of the design and our progress. We can’t wait!