What Do a Splash Cloth and a China Doll have in Common?

Answer: they are both new editions to Belmont Mansion’s collection!

Splash Cloth

Most of us probably use many types of cloth every day. From towels and washcloths to the shirt on our back. However, I doubt most have ever used (or even heard of) a splash cloth. Sometimes called a splash or splasher, according to an 1899 dictionary this cloth was “a screen hung behind a washstand to protect the walls from water.” In “Woman’s Handiwork in Modern Homes” published in 1881, Constance Cary Harrison wrote that “a linen splash curtain for the wash-stand should be made of yard-wide linen, to suit the wash-stand length.”

Belmont Mansion’s splash cloth is an example of finely woven linen dating to the 1860-1870s. Considering the expensive French wallpaper Adelicia had in the house, these cloths would be a necessity to protect such wallpaper from soapy and dirty water. The red embroidery you see on the cloth was probably added in the 1890s. This cloth is hanging behind the washstand in the large bedroom.