Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, USA.

Isabella Stewart Gardner was a philanthropist and a prolific collector of Textiles. As a patron of the arts and moving in fashionable circles, she had the opportunity to travel the world, ammasing an impressive collection of master and decorative arts.

The property that she renovated in 1903 to house her collection, then called Fenway Court, is now a museum of national importantance that bears her name. Isabella Stewart Gardner championed community social services and cultural enrichment and believed that art should be accesible and enjoyed by all.

The Blue Room

To recreate the original look, conservators relied on remnants of the original fabrics from the Museum’s archives or found under the 1950s fabric and, in partnership with Scalamandre of New York and the Humphries Weaving Company, Ltd., worked to recreate and reinstall all five patterns. The reinstallation of these fabrics in Gardner’s original pattern returns the gallery closer to its original appearance and Gardner’s original intent. The number of patterns displayed in the room reflects Gardner’s style, as she collected beautiful textiles she would simply pin them to the walls of her home to admire.

During the period of the project Richard was also undertaking work for Holkham Hall, Norfolk, England. To his amazement whilst exploring a cupboard with Lady Leicester of Holkham Hall a large gilt framed screen was uncovered. It containing panels of the very fabric that was being developed as one of the patterns for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the design and colour was so close that there was no doubt it was from the same document. It is thought that Isabella Stewart Gardner was a guest of the Hall and as a result of her enthusiasm for textiles was perhaps given a piece as a gift.

Humphries Weaving supplied the two figured designs in the Blue Room, the Norfolk Tissue described above and the Ferndale Tissue. The prominent Norfolk tissue design is thought to date from the last quarter of the 18th Century, it contains two distinct cornecovers. Both fabrics were constructed in a silk and linen tissue in powder blue, yellow and white.

Project references: 1244 / 1569

The Tapestry Room and Dutch Room

In the refurbishment of the Tapestry Room, eighteen textile projects were included in the plans. They include conserving original textiles, re-upholstering furniture, and replacing missing, damaged, or inappropriate furnishing textiles.

Humphries Weaving supplied a pure silk green damask for reupholstering benches in the Tapestry Room.

The same fabric was also used to create a large table cover for use in the Dutch Room.

Project reference: 1827

Furniture Restoration

Humphries Weaving supplied a number of fabrics for restoration of various suites of furniture within the museum.

Narrow woven silk damasks in sage green for furnishing.

Project reference: 1458


Silk and wool damasks in deep blue/green and a deep blue, narrow woven for furniture restoration.

Project Reference: 1589 / 1461


Pure silk crimson damask woven narrow width for upholstery. This design was used in a large scale at Windsor Castle, and there is a version woven in 1901 in the Warner Textile Archive.

Project Reference: 1808