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Northcroft Fabrics recreates Cliffe Castle curtains

Berkshire based Northcroft Fabrics specialises in the design and manufacture of fine fabrics and has once again proved why it is at the forefront of this specialist industry. Commissioned to reproduce the original reverse brocatelle effect of the 1870’s curtains which once hung in Cliffe Castle, Northcroft Fabrics was able to recreate the Parisian inspired design from a single chair upholstered in the original fabric.

Originally built and furnished by Victorian textile manufacturer Henry Isaac Butterfield in 1878, Cliffe Castle is now under the direction of Daru Rooke, the Museum Manager, who carried out the restoration project as part of the museum’s 50th birthday celebrations. Concentrating on the Great Drawing Room in Cliffe Castle, Northcroft Fabrics was set the challenge of recreating the fabric for the grandiose gold curtains and wall coverings, which Butterfield had commissioned in the latest 19th century style. The fabric features a design of a peacock and a Chinese pheasant in a continuous tree and is woven from the finest quality silk and cotton as a reverse brocatelle with a raised background.

John Kitching, of Northcroft Fabrics commented, “We were delighted to be approached to help restore Cliffe Castle to its original state. To reproduce the fabric we had to determine the yarns and weaves that were used, match the colours as closely as possible and re-create the original design from worn pieces. It was a very interesting and extremely rewarding challenge and the curtains, made up by Gill Lightfoot and team at Material Worth, Haworth, West Yorkshire, hang superbly in the Great Drawing Room.”

In 1949 the building and grounds were bought by Keighley Corporation with the assistance of Sir Bracewell Smith, a local benefactor who, in 1955 had it redesigned as a museum and art gallery for the people of Keighley. The museum re-opened as Cliffe Castle Museum and Art Gallery in 1959.

Northcroft Fabrics specialises in fine fabrics for interior decoration, and has been commissioned for various other restoration projects.