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The Floorcloth

For 150 years Lakeport’s entry hall floorcloth provided a decorative washable surface that helped keep dirt from soiling the finer carpets beyond the entry. Common in its day, it is a rare gem in spite of much loss and wear. Few mid-nineteenth century floor cloths 26’ x 15’ have survived in situ. After much deliberation, it was divided in four sections following the areas of most loss and removed from the floor. The meticulous cleaning process by Becky Witsell of Little Rock and her Studio-Werk crew involved removal of many layers of varnish, dirt and wax and one over-painting of solid ochre paint. Both the printed upper surface and the woven substrate required consolidation. The area behind the front door and those protected by large pieces of furniture now reveal the beautiful hand printed design. Fourteen colors were used to print the pattern that imitates the look of a fine woven carpet.

  • Revealing floorcloth's true colors Revealing floorcloth's true colors
  • Cleaned section of floorcloth Cleaned section of floorcloth
  • Chemically removing nearly 150 years of grime--multiple layers of varnish, dirt and wax, as well as a solid over-painting of ochre floor paint Chemically removing nearly 150 years of grime--multiple layers of varnish, dirt and wax, as well as a solid over-painting of ochre floor paint
  • Vaccuuming loose dirt from woven substrate Vaccuuming loose dirt from woven substrate
  • Consolidating the woven substrate Consolidating the woven substrate
  • Carefully rolling floorcloth for transport Carefully rolling floorcloth for transport
  • Inspecting floorcloth section behind front door--the area with the least wear Inspecting floorcloth section behind front door--the area with the least wear
  • "L. L. Johnson, Lake Port" painted in ink as delivery label on backside "L. L. Johnson, Lake Port" painted in ink as delivery label on backside
 



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