Picture of textile

Textile treasures

The textile collection at Skokloster Castle gives a useful insight into the textile requirements of a prosperous European household in the 17th century and Baroque. The collection includes numerous 17th century items but also textiles ranging from the late 16th century to the beginning of the 20th, with mementoes of the Castle’s owners through the ages. Among them are foremost textiles included in the various furnishings of the rooms in the Castle. This means woven tapestries, upholstery and bedding, coverlets, curtains and oriental carpets etc.
The textile collection also includes a number of garments, including waistcoats, tail coats, robes of different orders, uniforms.
There is also a well-stocked linen cupboard containing cloths, napkins, sheets and towels.

From the inventories we can learn that many textile items remain in their original context, while others have been moved from room to room within the Castle. Some items – those for which there is no place in the rooms as presently furnished – are now in storage. These are stored together with items which once upon a time were found old-fashioned or were damaged, and therefore were replaced but not discarded. This gives us a valuable chance to study the reverse sides and insides of textiles which would have, in their original setting, otherwise been hidden.

The textiles were mostly purchased for use; different kinds of textile in different ways. A woven tapestry was meant to decorate the walls, manifesting the lofty status of the room, while a napkin would adorn the table but also be used for wiping the mouth at dinners. Many things have survived due to the simple fact that they were never used enough to get worn out. The indoor climate in the Castle also does a lot to explain why the textiles are in such good condition and state of preservation. When the Castle was uninhabited in wintertime the rooms were not heated, as is still today the case of the museum apartments. This prevents the indoor air from getting too dry. Low air humidity causes the textile fibres to dry out, which makes them very liable to disintegrate. Cold conditions also have the advantage of being inhospitable to insect pests.