Philippe de Rigaud's 1726 probate inventory for the château records the use of tapestry both on walls and in upholstering beds, chairs, and screens. Six pieces of tapestry in an antechamber were appraised at 150 livres, compared to "quatre pièces de tapisserie de serge bleue brodée" (four pieces of embroidered blue serge tapestry) en suite with bedhangings, valued at 550 livres, in a bedchamber.
The largest and most important room of the château at the end of the French colonial regime, the salle de compagnie was hung with a green damask also used for three portières and three sets of double curtains. The damask used on the wall was bordered with gilt rods, presumably of wood, "4 pouces de large" ("4 thumbs wide").
Such damasks could have been woven in French centers such as Lyon and Tours, or abroad. Although weavers in Genoa were among the first to develop textiles known as "damasco della palma," in reference to their floral ornaments reminiscent of palm fronds, similar fabrics were woven in Milan and Venice. Even French textiles of the sort were sometimes referred to as Italian.
Understanding the nature of wall coverings is especially important in "reconstructing" the interior spaces of the now-vanished château Saint-Louis. In addition to providing the color and sale price of the green damask wall hanging in the salle de compagnie, Pierre de Rigaud's inventory also included its dimensions. From this detail, we can postulate where the silk actually hung in the space by comparing these measurements with the floor plans and keeping in mind the windows, fireplaces, and other elements delineated in architectural elevations. The lack of furnishing textiles can also be a hint for understanding a space's interior appearance, suggesting ornamental woodwork or paneling, plain plaster, or even wallpaper.
The intendant's palace was full of equally if not more elaborate textiles, including damasks and tapestries. More on the palace's soft furnishings in another post.