Colonial Revival Furnishings & Hooked Rugs
When someone takes a tour of a historic house that has many hooked rugs on display, chances are good that they represent the Colonial Revival style which was at its peak in the 1920s and 1930s. Louise du Pont Crowninshield, who was the last du Pont to occupy Eleutherian Mills Residence, was one of the leaders in the historic preservation movement at that time and specialized in decorating the historic houses she supported as well as her home – Eleutherian Mills Residence in this style.
Louise used a lot of hooked rugs in her public spaces. These rugs added color, striking designs, and warmth to each room. They were prominently featured in the first-floor rooms (Morning Room, Parlor, Dining Room and Smoking Room) Link and the second-floor bedrooms. Even with the Colonial Revival style in the public spaces and bedrooms of the house, Louise went modern with the fixtures of the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry at that time.
Originally, hooked rugs were made for hearth use to catch sparks that might leap out from the fire in the fireplace. By the 1840s, women were hooking rugs throughout the New England States for use in their homes. Earliest designs were made from hand-drawings or free form. Printed designs became available in the 1850s. But it was the use of burlap becoming available after the Civil War that made these rugs much easier to make. The most popular designs were florals as seen below.
Louise’s collection totals more than ninety hooked rugs which date from 1840 to 1925. They were purchased at antiques shops. She was well known throughout the eastern seaboard states for her passion for antiquing. Note that the dates of hooked rugs were made after the Colonial period. The Colonial Revival style was a romanticized view of the past, so this is one of the exceptions to using earlier colonial pieces.
Most of Louise’s hooked rug designs are entirely floral but she did have other favorites including dogs as seen above. Other designs include geometrics, horses, cats, eagles and other types of birds, houses and one sailing ship. There are always around twenty of her hooked rug collection on display at Eleutherian Mills Residence.