Here's a little post about a painted cloth commission I completed last year.
The painted cloth verdures fashionable in the 17th Century were derived from tapestries and were fairly stylised with the landscape piled high and in the same scale up to a high horizon.
The picture below shows the extremely rare painted cloths at Owlpen Manor. Here they are nailed floor to ceiling on all four walls.
In preparation I stretch unbleached linen over a large stretcher frame and prime it with rabbit skin glue (size).
Then with the linen nice and taught, I map out the design with thin washes of colour:
This is the "staining" technique used by painter-stainers in the 17th Century. These types of stained cloth were produced in large quantities at the peak of their popularity and were sold by the yard.
They were also known as "waterworks" as the paints were so thin. It is thought the artists may have laid the linen on the floor and worked bare foot painting on the flat.
Below are details of the original painted cloths at Owlpen Manor. You can see how the thin paints allow the weave of the linen to show like tapestry.
(there is lots more information about painted cloths on the Owlpen website and also on my website www.fairlyteelizabethan.co.uk).
So back to the studio and I'm still there painting leaves and creatures......
For this type of work I make up paints using earth pigments and glue size. I also use a few colours from Pinebrush Colourman who make the nearest thing to this by using natural earth pigments in their lovely chalky paints.
.....so eventually the cloth is finished.....
....the naive border is painted....
...and I've given it a rub down to soften and distress the surface...
....and then it's time to take the linen off the frame and to my sewing lady to line the back and weight the bottom:
The finished cloth has tabs at the top so it can be hung against a wall from a pole like a tapestry but, like many commissions, this is the last I see of it before it leaves my studio and heads off to its new home.
This was the type of commission I was keen should ultimately derive from the Arden Collection; bespoke, hand painted artwork inspired by an off-the-peg range and tailor-made to suit a client's room scheme.