In terms of visual art, drapery in history pertains to the first uses of textile or cloth that hang loosely but with attention to the folds and woven pattern. Through the years, drapery presentations play a significant role in identifying the periods in which artists created artworks, as the styles presented to the art audience denote how the folds of the draper were rendered in a particular era.
The earliest known record depicting the art of draping dates as far back as 3500 BC in the Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian civilizations. The very first curtains were said to have been invented by Egyptians and were mostly made from animal hides. Curtains were hung in doorways throughout 3100 BC to 3rd Century BC, until the ancient Egyptians started spinning fibers from flax, linen, wool and silk to use as textiles. The spun materials were regarded as valuable as they also provided warmth yet with more flexibility than animal hides.
When the Greeks learned about curtain making and techniques for making textiles, they were the first to use the art of draping for fashion. They created draped silhouettes like peplos, a sleeveless outerwear for women and chiton, a sleeveless shirt for men. Greek military soldiers wore chlamys wrapped around their arm that doubled as a light and flexible shield during combats. Another is the himation, a shawl or cloak worn over a peplos or a chiton that aimed to create a heavier draped design.
As was usually the case, the ancient Romans and Etruscans on the other hand, also adopted draping as a fashion technique, calling the long fabric wrapped and draped around their bodies, a toga.
Christian iconographers used drapery trends in presenting the Apostles, the Virgin, and Christ during the Middle Ages. However, starting from the 13th century, the ancient draping styles were influenced by Renaissance artists, where their artworks used draped silhouettes; but painting them as sheer, translucent garments with linear patterns.
Drapery Styles and Curtain History in Relation to Art of Interior Decorating
Drapery in interior designs refer to decorative treatments for windows, which designers call either as drapes or curtains. Drapes are usually heavier and used as solid window treatments mainly for the purpose of blocking off sunlight. During the early years of the Dark Ages, there was little indication that the usage of curtains was popular. It was only in the 6th to 15th centuries when the wealthy aristocrats started hanging drapes in their humongous castles to add warmth to the stone cold atmosphere of their abodes.
The Renaissance era also gave life, light, and color to curtains as part of interior designs. Builders during the period started to use glass panes for windows. However, the transparent materials also attracted peepers, to which curtains provide privacy but with less of the stark and solid effects of heavy drapes. In fact, Renaissance artists also used glass panes and curtain panels as medium for artwork..
In the 19th century Age of Industrialization, machine inventions paved the way for the mass production of textiles, to which the use of fabrics not only for garments but also for curtains helped boost the textile industry. Initially, the textiles used for curtains came with big, bold, and beautiful prints, as if to mimic the way Renaissance painters used curtains as art media. Until later, modern curtain makers utilized lace fabrics to create elegant sheer curtains that even up to now are very popular.
Both the 20th and 21st centuries made incredible advancements in terms of machinery and technology; giving people heightened freedom to create and design any size or style of curtains either as bespoke window treatments or ready-to-install window treatments.
In London, a company called Englanderline provides curtain making services to make it easier for interior designers or homeowners, find the curtain designs and fabrics that match the pieces of furniture they bought, or already present in their homes. Their reputation as excellent curtain makers are backed by solid reviews on how the company provided the exact match to their home interior, while also considering space size, outdoor view and sunlight protection.