Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wainscoating and Boiserie...

Wainscoting (derived from 14th century middle Dutch / Flemish word waghenscote, meaning superior quality oak wood, board used for paneling) is the term for panelling of various descriptions from floor height to almost any height on the wall. The height has been dictated over time by varying fashions, the purpose of the room (i.e. in a dining room it was usually high enough to protect the walls when chairs were pulled put from a table), and of course by the over-all proportions of the room. Originally it served to help insulate rooms from the stone exterior of the building and any rising damp. Now, of course, its purpose is largely ornamental.


Wainscoting on stairs protects the walls from the usual scuffs of stairwell traffic. Its panels can be lozenge shaped and run smoothly up the side of the wall (as above, which I think is the more elegant option) or they can be stepped along with each stair tread.

Curved Walls and Corners

The paneling may be squared-off at corners as above, or curved around, as below:

Although I don't particularly like the colour combination in the picture below, it serves to show how well wainscoting and moulding can emphasis a curve:

Examples of how the heights can vary:

A modern form of wainscot can be produced by applying moulding directly to the walls, creating a cameo effect:

Traditional paneled walls used a similar technique, although were often more elaborate:

For more on complete wall panelling and mahogany Wainscots see our post on The Study. For more on Gilded Boiserie work see our post on The Ballroom.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...