Venetian blinds, or as they’re sometimes called, window blinds, are composed of thin slats of aluminum, plastic or other material that overlap when closed to block out light.
The dry definition of Venetian blinds doesn’t even hint at history and utility – not to mention subtle drama - of these versatile window coverings. Venetian blinds are, as definition states, thin slats of material that are strung on a string ‘ladder’ and fitted with an adjuster that allows you to vary tilt and angle of slats. It’s this adjustment mechanism more than anything else that makes window blinds ‘Venetian’ blinds.
The use of slatted blinds can be traced back to Roman and Greek times. In Pompeii, for instance, archaeologists have uncovered homes that have fixed marble slats in window openings. It wasn’t till about 1760, though, that window blinds that could be adjusted by tilting slats came into more popular use. These were probably a variation on window shutters, with wooden slats that could be adjusted by virtue of a thin strip of wood affixed to each slat. In 1841, John Hampson of New Orleans patented a method of adjusting tilt of Venetian blind slats that is still most used method of stringing Venetian blinds in use today.
Did I say ‘subtle drama’ above? Venetian blinds have been used in art since they first became popular, though their presence in a composition might be so subtle that it goes unnoticed. Venetian blinds are a staple in film noir to suggest drama, tension and secrecy. The patterned shadows cast by light through half-opened Venetian blinds has been part of composition of award-winning photos in both color and black and white, and used by painters to add interest to portraits and abstracts. In your rooms, those same shadow patterns can cast a subliminally noticed ‘spell’ over room.