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. Du Ponts 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. 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 paid particular attention to the design of the curtains, and The Well - Dressed Window (May 2017, $50, The Monacelli Press) 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. Never-before-published photographs show each overall space in addition to the details of the 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 60 years. Of particular interest is du Ponts seasonal changing of the curtains, which were rotated throughout the year as the lighting and colors in the surrounding garden shifted.
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.
Sandy Brown is principal designer for Winterthur Design Associates, the museums interior design firm, which was founded in 1986. She holds a masters degree in interior architecture and design from Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Linda Eaton is Director of Collections and Senior Curator of Textiles at Winterthur and the author of Printed Textiles: British and American Cottons and Linens, 17001850. A graduate of the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the Courtauld Institute of Art, she teaches in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture and lectures on textiles and textile conservation.
Thomas Jayne, founder of Jayne Design Studio and a member of both the AD100 and the Elle Decor A List, studied American material culture and decorative arts at Winterthur. He is the author of The Finest Rooms in America and American Decoration.