Cut-velvet at Hardwick

The voided cut-pile velvet hangings and headboard of the bed in the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. NT1127838 ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

The voided cut-pile velvet hangings and headboard of the bed in the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. NT1127838 ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

In the previous post about the flossy silk hangings at Hardwick Hall I mentioned the Cut-Velvet Bedroom next door. Here are some images of that room, with its cut-velvet bed.

The Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

The Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

The bed was made in about 1740 by Thomas Vardy and was originally at Chatsworth. It was brought to Hardwick by the 6th Duke of Devonshire as part of his antiquarian redecoration of Hardwick during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Detail of a voided cut-pile velvet curtain at Blickling Hall. NT355834 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

Detail of a voided cut-pile velvet curtain at Blickling Hall. NT355834 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

Velvet is made by raising warp threads over wires so that a looped pile is created on the surface of the cloth. Sometimes these loops were left uncut, or ‘unshorne’ in early-seventeenth-century parlance. But if they were cut in order to create a short tufted pile the resulting fabric would be called cut-velvet or cut-pile velvet.

Eighteenth-century mahogany chair from the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall, upholstered with voided-cut pile velvet en suite with the bed. NT1127929.2 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

Eighteenth-century mahogany chair from the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall, upholstered with voided-cut pile velvet en suite with the bed. NT1127929.2 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

One way of forming a pattern on velvet was to leave some areas pile-free or ‘voided’, as has been done here. The similar voided cut-pile velvet curtains at Blickling Hall show bright the colours originally were.

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