Object History: Blanket

Written by Sibella Court

blanket noun /ˈblæŋ.kɪt/ 1.a ​flat ​cover made of ​wool or ​similar ​warm ​material, usually used on a ​bed.

A seemingly basic and everyday kind of object, the blanket provides warmth and comfort to its user whilst also having a myriad of histories and meanings across cultures. Thought to have been first coined by Flemish weaver Thomas Blanquette in the 14th century, the early blankets were made from wool, well known for its cosy and fire-resistant properties.

Featured images are from Sibella Court's book Nomad: Bringing Your Travels Home, Gypsy: A World of Colour & Interiors and Etcetera: Creating Beautiful Interiors with the Things You Love.


The Japanese boro (meaning 'rags') is a kaleidoscope of smaller pieces stitched together.   For a lot of cultures, the blanket doesn’t just rest on the bed; bright and colourful serapes worn by Mexican men, the multi-functional Japanese patch-worked boro, and I particularly love the story behind the handira, a Moroccan wedding blanket made by the Berber women. Beautifully decorated with sequins and tassels, these blankets could take weeks to create leading up to the bride’s wedding. The handira is worn as a kind of cape on the wedding day, having been weaved with blessings and protection from the bride’s family to equip her for her marriage.

Experiment with your blankets and throws: try pairing mixed textures and materials, or using a favourite bright patterned textile as a feature piece.  

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