The Daily Gazette
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Under foot . . . by design

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If you were the artistic wife of a sailor back in 17th century France, you didn't let modest means deter you from decorating your home in style. You transformed your husband's old sails into beautifully painted floor coverings that rivaled those in wealthy homes. British sailors started bringing them back as souvenirs, and a fad with impressive reach and longevity was born. The heavy canvases -- called "oilcloths" in Britain and "floorcloths" when the art ...

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