Dressing the Interior in the Early Modern: Textiles in Various Domestic Settings

Sara van Dijk Announcement
Subject Fields
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies

Dressing the Early Modern Network Conference 2023

Dressing the Interior in the Early Modern: Textiles in Various Domestic Settings

Friday and Saturday 22-23 September 2023, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS), Leiden, The Netherlands


Textiles, wall and furniture coverings played an important role in dressing interiors in the early modern period. From curtains to chairs, tables and beds a variety of textiles was needed to protect, adorn and transform rooms, homes and palaces. They were an important part of the dwelling as they linked the interiors together and showcased the taste and material means of the owners. Different rooms in the house served diverse purposes, from more public spaces such as waiting rooms, reception rooms and ballrooms to more private rooms such as the bedroom with its antechambers. In other households, rooms often had multiple functions and in many cases the distinction between private and public interior was more flexible. Textiles played an important role in distinguishing and modifying these spaces while giving a glimpse of the relationship that the owners had with those interiors.

While extant textiles have been frequently altered to fit new purposes denoting both their durability and the costly aspects of this medium, ledgers provide further examples of repairs and replacements. On the other hand, inventories give a more accurate picture of the changes in fashion over time. Fashions played an important role in the dressing of the interiors, from certain more desirable fabrics and colours being favoured over others, while also being altered according to seasons. This conference aims to generate a discussion about the use of various textiles in the interiors in the early modern focusing on their function, durability, colour, texture and pattern and how they were made to fit a specific purpose and give meaning to every room.

The conference is open to all, but we particularly welcome submissions from PhD candidates and early career researchers, who are invited to speak about the topic with reference to their current or previous projects. We invite potential speakers to submit the following as a single document to the Dressing the Early Modern Network at info@dressingtheearlymodern.com: (1) a paper title; (2) a 300-word paper abstract, which should include the main question of the research project; (3) a short written biography (150 words max); (4) institutional affiliations; (5) subject of PhD thesis and (expected) date of completion; and (6) contact information. Each speaker will be allotted twenty minutes.

The deadline for submissions is 1 July 2023. Notification of the outcome will be advised by e-mail before 15 July 2023.

Organised by Jola Pellumbi and Sara van Dijk, Dressing the Early Modern Network, and Alexander Dencher, Leiden University / Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Contact Information

Jola Pellumbi and Sara van Dijk

Contact Email