The Geffrye, Museum of the Home

136 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA


We are now closed for redevelopment until Spring 2020. Keep in touch for ongoing news and events

17th Century WallsPage 1

In urban houses of the moderately wealthy in the first half of the century, the principal rooms would often have been panelled in oak, known as 'wainscot'. This was decorative and made the rooms warmer and more comfortable. It is not entirely clear how the panelling was finished, whether it was left bare, or was oiled or varnished. Sometimes the panels were painted with decorative devices. Where wainscot survives today, the oak has oxidised to a dark brown colour, helped by smoke from fires and tobacco over the centuries. In its new and 'natural' state, oak is a light, honey colour. Hangings of 'painted cloth' were also sometimes used to cover the walls. The very few that survive are painted with hunting scenes and mock wooden panelling.


Room 1, Geffrye Museum, which represents the hall in a middling Londoner's home in 1630

© Geffrye Museum