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Walls were a very important part of the Georgian interior and much attention was paid to their treatment. Classically, the wall area would have been divided into three sections: the dado/wainscoting, incorporating the skirting/base board, dado panel and rail (which would be at a height of approximately 75 cm/2ft 6in); the field or mid-wall section; and the top section made up of frieze and cornice.
Early in the period these panels would most probably have been made of oak and finished with a simple wax polish. Later, with the introduction of softwoods, the paneling may have been painted, albeit in rather drab colors, or given a faux wood finish.
Hangings of precious textiles and tapestries were fashionable and fabric walling as we know it also popular (except in the dining room, where food smells might be trapped). Fabrics such as silk and wool damask were attached to walls above dado height by means of wooden battens and finished with a gilt fillet. Costly wallpapers (including flock types and patterns with oriental themes) in sheets rather than rolls were highly prized and most frequently attached to a canvas backing before being hung, thus enabling them to be removed when the owners departed.
Exposed bare wooden planks or parquet, simply scrubbed and waxed (and, for coziness, topped with an oriental or area rug) are typical Georgian treatments. For an alternative covering, a painted and varnished floor cloth made of canvas might be incorporated into the scheme. For halls and the grander areas of a house, stone or marble flooring, possibly in a classical pattern, was considered most appropriate.
Close co-ordination between all the soft furnishings within a room would have been evident, each item echoing the material and style of others. Popular fabrics of the day were velvet, brocade, damask, silk, chintz and tapestry. Oriental themes influenced many of the fabrics and toile de jouy might well have depicted scenes from Chinese life. Embroidered textiles were also very popular.
Lighting And Accessories
The main source of light, apart from the fire, would have been candles. These were housed in candlesticks, candelabra, wall sconces and lanterns made of wood, glass, brass or silver. Many candlesticks were based on classical designs, while those for the candelabra were mainly rococo in feel. Mirrors in gilt frames featured strongly, as did lacquerwork screens, porcelain ware and fans from the Orient.
Paintings (often hung from a visible fabric bow) were a popular form of wall decoration and sometimes prints were applied directly on to the wall. Silhouettes and silverware were also favored. Items were usually displayed in a symmetrical pattern.
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