Castle Rushen – Wall Hangings
The Castle Rushen Isle of Man wall-hangings. In the medieval period, wall hangings of various kinds brought rooms to life in an elegant way and also provided a barrier against damp and draughts. The highest quality hangings were woven tapestries (“arraswork”) which were conspicuously displayed by the wealthy. The tapestry behind the Lord’s chair in his Great Chamber is copied from a 15th century original. These tapestries were often imitated in painted or “steyned cloth” hangings which had the advantage that they could be quickly prepared and hung for special occasions, such as a rare visit to the Island by the King of Mann.
Painted cloths could also portray subjects specifically relating to the Lord’s family which would have been too expensive and taken too long to depict in tapestry.
The painted cloths in the Lord’s Private Dining Room and the Lord’s Great Chamber are based on decorative styles of the 15th century and include subjects of heraldic and family significance to the Stanley family, including their part in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, which earned them the title of Earls of Derby.