The History Of Linen

Linen as a textile goes back many thousands of years and was the first fabric produced by man. The oldest example was found in a prehistoric cave in Georgia some 36000 years ago. The textile is made from fibres of the flax plant and it is soft and cool to the touch, however, it does not stretch as it is low in elasticity.

In ancient Egypt, linen was used for mummification as it symbolized wealth, light and purity. It was also perfect for clothing as it was cool to wear in the extreme heat of the Egyptian climate making it very much sought after, and was used as a high currency as Egypt ran a moneyless economy.

In Mesopotamia, linen was reserved for the upper classes as it was difficult to weave as the thread is easy to break. Even the Romans joined in with the passion for linen which was sent out to their troops on the front line and was worn by many noble Romans and Caesars. More interestingly, the Roman name for linen has become the scientific name for flax Linum usitatissimum which is a member of the Linaceae plant family. The Latin name means, most useful and linen certainly is!

Moving on two thousand years later, linen went global as the ancient Phoenicians exported linen to China, India, Persia, Scotland and Ireland and in the twelfth century, linen was also produced in Spain, France and Italy. During the Middle Ages linen had come to its prime and the generic term ‘linens’ became associated also with bedding, tablecloths and towels and the term is widely used today.

The passion for linen is worldwide and we love the soft, natural look which is why Today Interiors have created our own Linear collection which has a linen look and is available in an array of colourways. Fabrics illustrated are FRL 1559 Linear Wool and FRL 1562 Linear Surf.