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In the Tudor period the walls of wealthy families were hung with tapestries, partly for ornament but also no doubt to exclude draughts. We are less familiar with the term ‘painted cloths’, items which may have been a cheaper substitute but served a similar function: the images often had a religious theme. They feature in many inventories in the sixteenth century but the term is recorded earlier in Latin: 1392 lego ... meliorem pannum meum pictatum, York. Such items were among goods imported from Veere in the Low Countries: 1483 3 pannis depictis Ł1
1490 a dos’ pantyd clothys, Hull. They were also used in churches: 1498 Item ij awterclothes peynted price iijs, Wakefield: these were recorded in the chantry chapel on the bridge. Some references provide us with details of the paintings, as in the inventory of the goods in St William’s Chapel on Ouse Bridge: 1509 ij curtyns longyng to the hie alter of rede payntid damaske wark ... ij alter clothes and ij curtyns of white damaske flowers payntid … ij olde alter clothes payntid with rede and ij curtyns for the werk day, York. In Sir Thomas Wentworth’s house at Bretton in 1542 were numerous expensive tapestries, and hanginges … of red say with two paynted clothes fixed on the same, on [one] of our lady of pitie and thother of mary mawdelen . Cushions and bankers were also painted and the custom survived into the late seventeenth century at least: 1550 old payntid clothes 12d, Richmond
1628 4 old paynted cushyons, 2s 6d, Pudsey
1684 2 pented quishens, Cartworth.