About Floorcloths

Throughout time people have used some form of floor coverings in their homes. The painted canvas was thought to have originated in France in the 1400's in the form of tapestries and wall hangings. It wasn't until the 1700's that the English took the painted canvas and converted it to rolled canvas for floor coverings. Many names were given to it-- wax cloth, fancy-pattern cloth-- until finally they were referred to as "oyl clothes". In the wealthy English homes, common house painters painted the "oyl clothes" in designs fashioned by the time: geometric, tile and marble. It became a prosperous business, even exporting to the wealthy in the American colonies.

In America it began with women putting old worn sails down on their drafty floors and painting on them. At the end of the American Revolution, the demand for American made products grew. Local artists started making floorcloths, and the designs became more stylized, using stencils and block printing. Floorcloths became not only very popular but also a booming business. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the new technological advances moved floorcloth production into the factories. Unfortunately this also led to the demise of the floorcloth in 1860 with the invention of linoleum.

In the 1950s and 1960s with the authentic historic restoration movement came the rebirth of historic handcrafted items. Today floorcloths have come full circle and are taking on the designs of today's world or yesterday's. To view Dunberry Hill Design's unique collection of handcrafted floorcloths visit our main floorcloth gallery and also our client project gallery.


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Blank Floorcloths