The Well-Dressed Window
Curtains at Winterthur
Sandy Brown. Introduction by Linda Eaton. Foreword by Thomas Jayne
The Well-Dressed Window: Curtains at Winterthur is a unique compendium of design and textile history and an invaluable resource for designers and homeowners alike.
Today Henry Francis du Pont, the force behind the transformation of Winterthur from a family house to the premier museum of American decorative arts, is recognized, along with Henry Davis Sleeper and Elsie de Wolfe, as one of the early leaders of interior design in this country.
Working with architects, curators, and antiques dealers, du Pont created some 175 room settings within the house. He assembled his rooms using architectural elements from historic houses along the East Coast and filled them with an extraordinary collection of American furniture and decorative arts. Du Pont’s unique talent was his ability to arrange historically related objects in a beautiful way, in settings that enhanced their shape and form through the choice of color, textiles, and style.
Du Pont paid particular attention to the design of the curtains, and The Well-Dressed Window surveys his achievement, explaining how the fabrics were selected as well as their relationship to the architecture and other decorative elements in the rooms. Forty rooms are presented, each specially photographed to show the overall space in addition to details of fabric and trim. A series of stereoviews taken in the 1930s as well as other period photographs reveal the evolution of the window treatments and upholstery over nearly sixty years. Of particular interest is du Pont’s seasonal changing of the curtains, which were rotated throughout the year as the lighting and colors in the surrounding garden shifted.