Venetian Blinds: A History

Abigail Sawyer | 24 Sep 2012 | Blinds

The History of Venetian Blinds: Not so Venetian after all.


In the earlier post What Are Venetian Blinds? we mentioned that the history of Venetian blinds goes back several centuries. As we continued to research a vast and rich history unfolded before us. We’re nerds about blinds around here, so we were excited to dig into the harrowed past of these iconic window coverings and share it with you!

The Venetian Blind Painting- Edmund Charles Tarbell

Image thanks to

Venetian Blinds appear in Edmund Charles Tarbell’s painting from the turn of the 18th century, “The Venetian Blind.” 

Although the early history of Venetian window blinds is mostly conjectural, they are thought to have originated in Persia, not Venice. Venetian traders discovered the window coverings through their trade interactions in the East and brought them back to Venice and Paris. To this day, the French call Venetian blinds “Les Persienes,” and remain loyal to their true place of origin. After their introduction to Europe in 1760, they became popular window coverings across the continent.

Image thanks to

The Visit of Paul Jones to the Constitutional Convention- J. L. Jerome

John Webster was the first to introduce Venetian blinds in the United States. The high society in America took to them quickly and the blinds were installed in many of the government and public office buildings. Venetian blinds can be seen in the background of J. L. Jerome’s painting, “The Visit of Paul Jones to the Constitutional Convention,” and illustrations of Independence Hall at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  In 1761 St. Peter’s Church in Philadelphia was fitted with Venetian blinds.

Tea- James Tissot Venetian Blinds

Image thanks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tea- James Tissot, 1872

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Venetian blinds were widely adopted in office buildings to regulate light and air. The Painting, “Tea” by James Tissot includes Venetian blind and is dated to 1872. In the 1930s Rockefeller Center’s RCA Building, better known as Radio City, adopted Venetian Blinds. One of the largest orders for Venetian blinds ever placed was to the Burlington Venetian Blind Co., of Burlington, Vt., which supplied blinds for the windows of the Empire State Building in New York City.

Venetian Window Blinds still give your windows a sophisticated look.

Levolor Nu Wood Venetian Blinds

Venetian Blinds have obviously stood the test of time, and are still a functional and stylish window covering choice for your home. Although many of the historical versions we have seen are wood blinds, Venetian blinds are also now produced from aluminum and faux wood. If you’re looking to buy cheap venetian blinds, these two alternatives are more lightweight and cost effective than wood, and will be long lasting even in high humidity spaces like kitchens and bathrooms because they have no risk of warping.

Venetian Wood Blinds

If you’re looking for a classic window covering that harkens back to the historical look, Wood Venetian Blinds like the 2″ Premium Wood Blinds are a great choice.

venetian blinds metal

A lightweight aluminum Venetian blind like our 2″ Aluminum Blinds give your window a clean line and is a very economical choice.


Faux Wood Venetian Blinds give you the look of wood at a fraction of the cost and with improved durability. Our pick are the 2″ Premium Faux Wood Blinds.

venetian blinds faux wood

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  • About Author

    Abigail Sawyer is the Manager of Social Media Marketing for She's a home improvement junkie who is currently restoring a 1972 cottage with the help of her husband and goldendoodle, Biscuit. Walking in the footsteps of Martha Stewart, she’s happiest when she’s crafting or whipping up a new recipe; although nothing beats curling up with a good book and some Girl Scout Cookies. Follow her on twitter + instagram at @whatabigailsaw