Thursday, March 18, 2021

Decorating With Verdure Tapestries

Tapestries were used in the Middle Ages as much for insulation in drafty castles and châteaux as for entertainment and decoration. The warmth they provided on walls and around canopies was desperately needed. In the old world however utilitarian necessities were still created with aesthetics in mind.....and aren't we glad!! This particular post has been created to draw attention to my favorite style of tapestry, the Verdure Tapestry.

Hunting was very popular with the aristocracy in Europe in the 1500 and 1600's and these hunting scenes in the forests were the inspiration for creation of the lush green landscapes or “verdure” (from old French word vert, for “green”) tapestries of the time. It was under Louis XIV's reign that Les Gobelins factory was founded in Paris as well as other such famous tapestry factories as Aubusson and Lille that were renowned for their production of Verdures. 

Also in 1619 James I of England decided that tapestries should not be solely a French decorating element. He began promoting the Mortlake Tapestry Factory on the Thames which had earlier been established by Sir Francis Crane. Now England could also create beautiful Verdure tapestries for the royal courts.

The chief features of the Verdures were the large wooded landscapes and flowing all-over patterns of lush trees and vegetation in shades of beige, green, brown and blue. These tapestries were immensely popular. In the last half of the 17th century, landscapes were incorporated into their design that featured rivers, bridges castles, and châteaux.

In recent years verdure tapestries have experienced a revival and are being produced by weavers in France and Belgium in a wide range of sizes. There are many beautiful tapestries to choose from that have flora, fauna, and scenic vistas as their theme. A gorgeous Verdure tapestry will instantly create an old world feel to your space as well as a sense of warmth and charm.

Robert Kime

It is not entirely certain where verdure tapestries were first produced. However by the sixteenth century, this tapestry was recognized as an art form. Because of the timeless appeal of their natural and peaceful settings the French Verdure tapestry provides the perfect backdrop.
The term “verdure” is derived from the French “vert”, translated as “green”, reflecting the lush greenery common to them. Forests, woodlands,  and thick green vegetation, sets the scene for these wonderful tapestries. I love the way a Verdure  beckons you to gaze through the trees at the landscape beyond.

A seventeenth-century Verdure tapestry hangs behind a terracotta bust of Madame du Barry. Verdures were also called garden tapestries and were trendy with European royalty and nobility.

via Pinterest

For a soothing piece of art Verdure tapestries are hard to beat, provided that the style fits within the setting of your home.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

This image is from my living room where I have a Verdure tapestry I bought at auction called The Forest of Clairmarais. This tapestry was originally produced in Flanders in the early 17th century and now is superbly woven in France. It is an heirloom piece and a classic Verdure tapestry that provides a natural, partly forested setting of large trees, plants, water and hills.

Lisa Farmer-Designs

I also have a Verdure that I use as a rug in my office. No matter where you put them they seem to take command.

via Pinterest

I adore how these medieval Verdure tapestries bring a romantic spirit of the old world to an interior.

Here is a Verdure tapestry with a lush green forest scene. The tall tress with its impressive foliage in a variety of hues can be seen, with a river flowing and a bridge in the distance. A castle sits on the hill above.

Flemish Oudenaarde tapestry

One of the most distinctive types of tapestry weavings produced in Flanders at this time were the Verdures of Oudenaarde. This is a type of tapestry that incorporates design elements based on plant forms and that typically features a scenic garden or countryside landscape setting surrounded by a border of fruits and flowers

Alidad LTD

Here a Verdure tapestry takes center stage and everything else in the room becomes part of the supporting cast.

In Sissinghurst Castle a Verdure tapestry is in keeping with the Rococo and Romantic style of landscapes with deep thick foliage, the aristocracy enjoying nature, and pictures of wildlife and birds like swans you see here. Castles and gardens were also often depicted.

The Verdure hangings were immensely popular with those customers who could afford such luxury because of the way they impressively brought nature into the home. Verdures, like this one, also created a sense of space in an interior due to the depth of their scenes.

Birr Castle, Ireland via Pinterest

Verdure tapestries could be compared to landscape-paintings. Unlike Italian painting of the time, there were no religious or mythological scenes, only nature with occasionally a few animals and people and buildings in the background.

Perhaps its the soothing effect of the natural shapes and colors that makes vistas of landscapes the preferred view for most people. The Verdure tapestry provides a sense of actually walking right into one of these scenes.

Nicholas Haslam Ltd

In this lovely Verdure tapestry a little dog is barking at some water fowl in a stream in this scenic landscape with an ancient town in the background. The main focus however, is the large leaves and thick foliage that fills the foreground.

The freshness and beauty of nature brings something special into our homes. That is why Verdure tapestries are sought after by collectors today.

Hatfield House (childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I)

Verdure tapestries were many times thought of as "wallpaper" of sorts and pictures were hung on them.

A fabulous hand woven tapestry with a very beautiful design of greenery. Of you are a blue transferware collector notice how beautifully a Verdure tapestry sets these pieces off.

Tapestries were often thought of as movable frescos.

Entrances are ideal places to hang a Verdure tapestry to help bring the outside in!

via Pinterest

This lovely tapestry shows the hallmarks of the Verdures such as leaves and foliage on the forest floor as well as the on the trees. Plus there is the wildlife darting in and out of the landscape.

Timothy Corrigan

It is easy to see how a Verdure tapestry creates a sense of charm, wonder, and depth to any interior design.

For centuries verdure tapestries remained highly popular and were made on a large scale for export. That was until the arrival of wallpaper which served as a more economical way to decorate a room.

Mercer House, Savanah GA via Pinterest

Wallpaper, however, cannot match the way that a stunning Verdure tapestry can change a room by creating an old world ambiance.

via Pinterest

Verdure tapestries fit in perfectly with the interest in botanical themes during the Renaissance.

Linda Keenan

Of course French chairs covered in Verdure tapestry are irresistible!

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

I am especially drawn to French Verdure tapestries so it's not surprising that this canape upholstered in Verdure leaves me breathless.

French Walnut Louis XV Canapé Covered in 17th Century French Verdure Tapestry.

Verdure fabric works particularly well with French and English interiors.

via Pinterest

You can even find pillows made from Verdure tapestry fragments to help give an old world look to your space.

Look at this sensational Verdure tapestry room divider!!

I can't say enough about this gorgeous Verdure tapestry headboard.....except SWEET DREAMS!

Paolo Moschino

When you see one of these large tapestries, it’s like walking right into a Verdure fantasy scene.

John Oetgen

A Verdure tapestry will create a sense of charm and wonder in your home and will elevate it's style.

For our homes in today’s time, or palaces in the 17th century, the beauty of the outdoors cannot be beaten.

Michael Taylor

The foliage and trees at the left and right edges creates an allée through which the viewer can see a country château and its grounds.

They look simply marvelous in modern interiors as well.

The Verdure tapestry can certainly change a room by creating a striking and impressive focal point. Plus don't forget the investment value that will be passed down to future generations.

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

In the event that I have not credited the correct source of an image, please contact me at and I would be glad to correct it.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Decorating With Cupboards Full Of Blue And White Transferware

During the 14th century the Chinese were the first responsible for the labor intensive process of painting porcelain in under-glaze blue. But it wasn’t until 300 years later in 1604 that a Dutch ship captured the Portuguese Catharina, who was returning from China loaded with 100,000 pieces of blue and white porcelains. The rest is history.
Over time blue and white transferware has become one of the beloved favorites of china collectors and a darling of interior designers everywhere.......a  collectible that never really goes out of style.

These beautiful blue and white pieces are called transferware because of the more affordable process of transfer printing as a decorative technique that was developed in England in the mid-1750s, particularly in the Staffordshire region. Some of the earliest transferware patterns were done in blue and white with an Asian influence. "Chinese Blue" was popular in the mid-1700s. Before transfer printing was developed, each piece would be hand-decorated, which was  difficult and expensive. This new process was invented in response to England's middle class consumer's longing for an affordable alternative to the hand-painted and expensive blue and white china of the aristocracy. 

As they purchased these pieces the desire also came to display their treasures. The term cupboard was originally used to describe an open-shelved side table for displaying dishware more specifically plates, cups and saucers. These open cupboards typically had between one and three display tiers, and one or multiple drawers. The word cupboard gradually came to mean a closed piece of furniture

The purpose of this blog is to focus the spotlight on these beautiful cupboards full of lovely blue and white transfer collections. Antique or vintage transferware can add class and charm to your home décor, but a good display needs more that aesthetic appeal. You also need to protect your collection from potential damage.

Welsh cupboards and china cabinets are the ideal display vehicle for displaying your collections so that others can appreciate them as much as you do! Enjoy!!!

via Pinterest

Blue and white transferware is definitely a perennial favorite of collectors. Besides the color, another reason for it's appeal is that it looks wonderful in display, especially in an antique wooden cupboard or cabinet. Before transfer printing was developed, many could not afford even a few pieces and certainly not a collection. 

There are many subcategories  to "blue transferware".  Flo Blue, Blue Willow, and Staffordshire Historical Blue are all names of blue and white pieces decorated with underglaze transfer designs in cobalt blue. 

via Pinterest

At the turn of the 19th century Chinese patterns were very popular However, English companies began to incorporate European features. Staffordshire, or Historical Blue pieces feature  important landmarks, scenes from history and commemorative events. Historical Blue was also a deeper darker blue.

via Pinterest

By 1812 English manufacturers were selling to the new American nation. The American market pieces featured important buildings, landscapes, war heroes and other patterns that appealed to Americans who loved the dark blue and white pieces. 

via Pinterest

 A huge amount of of this dark blue and white transferware was exported to the United States until about 1840-1860 when American factories began their own production.

 Many gorgeous dark blue transfers were produced with floral, pastoral, and romantic themes as well.

As in this cupboard, strong visual impact can be created when you display a large group of blue and white transferware even if the shades vary. You can add in another color, just be needs to accentuate and not distract!!

via Pinterest

Around 1835-1875, Ironstone dark flow blue was at it's height of popularity. Isn't this collection beautifully displayed in a fabulous carved pine cupboard?

Kathy Greeley

A central question when collecting blue and white transferware is how to display your treasures so that they will provide visual enjoyment for you and also your visitors.

via Pinterest

No matter what kinds of objects capture your heart, if you collect them, you'll want to display them so they will be noticed. There is just something about open cupboards that enhance the blue and white transfer. I think it is because these pieces were used on a daily basis and don't bode well behind glass. I think they are much prettier presented openly.

Find a wonderful cupboard to house your collection first and then collect away!!

The casual appeal of blue and white transferwear assures that this classic is loved today just as much as it has been through the centuries.

Collecting these beautiful blue and white pieces is so addictive that those who collect antique transferware commonly refer to it as a "passion"!

via Pinterest

You have to admit that a cupboard full of blue and white transferwear is endearing no matter the size!

A Welsh dresser (British, English) or a china hutch (American), and even sometimes called a pewter cupboard is a piece of wooden furniture introduced in the 18th century and consisting of drawers and cupboards in the lower part, an open upper section with shelves for storing plates, and perhaps a sideboard on top. This was an utilitarian piece of furniture used to store and display crockery, silverware, pewter, and china and makes one of the best transferware display cupboards. In fact it is my favorite!

Charles Faudree

Another transferware pattern called Blue Willow refers to a pattern based on a Chinese love story featuring lovers on a bridge and is charmingly displayed in this Welsh cupboard. Your collection should be grouped together in one or two areas so that it can be seen as a collection of similar items. This way you will get the maximum visual impact.  See how that is done here in this room. Displaying your transferware randomly throughout the house only serves to dilute the eye appeal and make the whole collection seem disconnected. 

Each piece of transferware pottery is a actually a miniature work of art. Whether a few pieces grouped together or a large cupboard full displayed en masse, blue and white transfer makes an exquisite decorative statement. It is hard not to collect these pieces.

Ann Dennis on Instagram

Most transferware patterns sought by collectors today are two-tone in color: blue and white, red and white, and brown and white are the most common colors. It is hard to find the valuable English pieces made from the 1700s through the late 1800s offered for sale in antique shops at affordable prices.
Mary Douglas Drysdale, designer

You can find pieces made during the 20th century in most areas. While they’re not as valuable as the true antique versions, they can still be just as pretty. Here is a display of blue and white transferware in an old cupboard that achieves a rustic, country look.

via Pinterest

Whether you collect the most or the least expensive..... display blue transfer in an antique cupboard for a beautiful look.

If you are tired of some of your old furniture pieces refresh and refurbish them with paint. Blue and white transferware displays well in a number of colors.

Transferware and old chippy cabinets are also a good combination. It's always best to try and find one with natural distressing due to age. 

This is a good shade of green to compliment blue and white dishes. Just remember that painting a beautiful antique just to stay on trend may not be a great idea.

Isn't the transferware striking against the red paint of the built-ins? My philosophy is paint and distress inexpensive old and vintage pieces or built ins.....but not antiques!

I think it is pretty how this lighter blue transferware is displayed in a soft muted blue cupboard that leaves the inside natural wood. Very warm and charming.

If you want a bit of color, paint the inside of your cupboard and leave the exterior natural. Blue and white transferware works well with green so it is an excellent choice.

via Pinterest

You can even make your cupboard more interesting if you decorate it with printed fabric or wallpaper.  Just keep in mind that it shouldn’t distract from your blue transferware. Take your time and make a wise choice.

A lovely French Provincial style dining area. You can also use armoires to display your collection of blue and white dishes.

Andrew Maier

Transferware collections look amazing displayed in cupboards painted in shades of white. Again remember that painting good antique furniture will definitely effect their value in a guaranteed negative way. 

Kathryn Greeley

via Pinterest

Aiken House & Garden

Blue and white always creates vintage charm in your décor.

This blue and white transfer collection helps to add instant farmhouse feel to this space.

White paint always gives an interior a fresh feel. Blue and white porcelain does the same thing so together you can't go wrong if you are looking for a fresh, crisp space.

There are many style of cupboards and cabinets that will enhance the beauty of your transferware collection. This antique French Black Forest bookcase and cabinet will demand attention wherever it is placed. 

via Pinterest

The objects in your display do not need to all match. You can add other pieces in with your blue and white transferware. Just make sure the colors work well together. Staffordshire figurines are the perfect compliment!!

No matter how small your treasured collection is there will be a cabinet just perfect for it. Here it happens to be a painted French estagnier.

Photo: @antoniomonfreda

Don't sell attractive build in cupboards short as they too can be stunning ways to display your blue and white transferware.

via Victoria Magazine

The artwork and colors are truly timeless and that makes blue and white transferware a classic still very much admired and collected today.

via Pinterest

You needn't limit a display of transferware to plates alone. Combine them with other transfer pieces as well as non transferware that works well in a display.

I know this post is about blue and white transferware but I had to touch on another type of  collectible blue and white tin glazed earthenware that is also quite stunning en mass in a beautiful antique cupboard. Delft Blue is the world-famous pottery that is a a form of faience and has been produced in the city of Delft in the Netherlands since the 17th century.

Blue and white Delft Holland pieces in bright yellow cupboards at Maison de Claude Monet, Giverny.

via Pinterest

No matter what style of transferware you collect, a well-decorated china cupboard can be a beautiful addition to any room. Make your cupboard the highlight of your dining room by decorating it to it's best effect.

Your cupboards of blue and white transferwear may never rival the collection of John Rosselli.......

but keep trying!

If you are interested in collecting transferware, understanding some basic differences between old and new will help. I am no expert but have found a few tips for the collector.

1. The better transferware will be fully glazed inside and out with top and bottom rims glazed as well. This is because they used these pieces daily. The all over glazing would keep water, dirt, and grease from getting under the glaze and destroying the surface. The reproductions will be unglazed in areas such as rims because they were made to "look at" and not for daily use. 

2. Most new marks average 2 to 3 inches across no matter the size of the piece.  Most marks on 
authentic blue transfer are rarely over 1 inch in size.

3. Look for a pattern name sometimes printed on the back. Then do some on-line research. There are data bases that will identify the date and who made the various patterns. 

4. Look for uneven application and glaze. Early transfer pieces will have uneven gaps, creases, and seams that don't match in the printed patterns. Also you will have glaze drips or gaps in the glazing over the pattern.

5.  "Made in" indicates modern manufacturer.

6. Authentic pieces will feel lighter. Later, mass produced plates were usually heavier.

The best value for transferware is in old, Victorian examples. Early Asian influenced designs and items featuring images of American historic views from 1820–1840 are in high demand and expensive. Though Flow Blue is popular and can be quite valuable, so much was produced that there is a lot of it out there. Flow Blue was highly reproduced in the late 20th century.

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

In the event that I have not credited the correct source of an image, please contact me at and I would be glad to correct it.
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