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Wallpaper News Issue # 6, November, 2015

........please share this newsletter with your friend who loves wallpaper…
Yes…that one!
Only if you hurry: the clock is ticking for the Historic Deerfield seminar November 13-15, 2015.
“Yankee Ingenuity and New England Decorative Arts, 1790-1840”:

and then there’s this on November 6:
Gregory Herringshaw's post about "A Humble Floral" from August 1 is one of many "object of
the day" posts about wallpapers in the collections of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design
Museum. This ungrounded floral with metallic highlights dates from around 1930.

In around 1949 Charles E. Peterson, founder of the HABS surveys, commented that “the state
of our published knowledge of Early American paint finishes is truly pathetic.” But, that
assertion no longer holds. As proof see our notes below about a well-attended paint conference at
Historic Deerfield. Study of historic paints, especially distempers, can help us understand
historic wallpaper…
An announcement from Philippe Fabry, director of the Wallpaper Museum in Rixheim, France:
The Wallpaper Museum is happy to present its new exhibition:
Made in France, Wallpaper in 2015 (12 June 2015 — 31 October 2016)

Wallpaper is coming back into fashion; manufacturers are placing
their trust in designers, artists and photographers who utilize
wallpaper for expression. People are no longer afraid of patterns
and colors; wallpaper allows us to personalize our interiors with
unique panels, focal walls, or panoramics. This exhibition
presents 34 wallpaper companies in France. Some specialize in
French-style luxury. Others are start-ups implementing digital

A wallpaper sandwich, consisting of nine layers, the
oldest dating 1855-1860, was found during the restoration
of the home of author Louis-Honoré Fréchette in
Quebec, Canada.

A remarkable
Folding Screen
(mislabeled as
leather”) was
recently featured
on an online
Considering the variety of pattern, it’s likely that the screen was intended for a showroom in a
major city. Indeed, an analysis by Bo Sullivan of Arcalus Period Design found no less than 20
patterns (or pieces of patterns) on the screen.
His comments: “Pride of place is given to No. 1015, the Date Palm Dado (with border bands) by
Augustin Le Prince at the center, but other important featured patterns from the earliest designs
include No. 50 Japanese Dado by Paul Groeber at lower left, the No. 61 Modern Renascence
[sic] by Paul Groeber at lower right, and the No. 1013 Louis XVI Dado at center bottom.
These are supplemented generously by multiple borders, the most important being the No. 1080
9-inch Renaissance band that contributes the two top framed elements and the figure at center
right. Identifiable patterns on this screen include: 48, 50, 61,1002, 1013, 1015, 1019, 1022, 1030,
1038, 1046, 1080, 1082, 1086, 1174, 1181, and at least five patterns I can't identify, including the
elegant feature pattern at lower left. Interestingly, a number of these patterns are installed in a
different orientation on the screen that they had in the Lincrusta catalogs.

This is a remarkable artifact, embodying the exceptionally artful balance of order and chaos,
modern and ancient, symmetry and asymmetry, that the latter half of the 1880s perfected like no
other era.”
An amazing video showing the conservation of historic wallpaper has surfaced. This wallpaper
ensemble also happens to be pictured in Bernard Jacque's article "Wallpaper in the Royal
Apartments at the Tuileries, 1789–1792” in Bard Studies in the Decorative Arts, V. XIII, No. 1
A patch of original c. 1830 wallpaper found under layers of paint was conserved by Mark
Sandiford in the “model room” of Sir John Soane’s private home, now a museum. As usual, the
colors had faded, but wait, there was a swatch of the original paper preserved in the Cowtan
Order Books at the V & A, which greatly assisted a reproduction by Adelphi Paperhangings in
upstate New York. Read all about it at the link below:

Steve Larson at Adelphi commented:
“The new paper is installed in the same room as the old - in fact on one wall they meet in a
jagged joint. While there is an understandable difference in color the pattern itself needed to
match rather convincingly. Added to the mix was the specification that hand made paper be used;
the paper came from Griffin Mills in Ireland who also supplied technical advice. In one form or
another this wallpaper made several trans-Atlantic journeys: the paper pulp traveled from the US
to Ireland, then back to the US and finally to London.
Before Michele started drawing the transparencies we tested the paper and determined the
amount of expansion which would occur when paste was applied. It expanded more in one
direction than another….To remedy this we then had the high resolution photos, which the Soane
supplied, printed slightly smaller to compensate for the expansion for the drafting work….Blocks
2 and 3 contain a great many tiny tiny detail elements; the original blocks must have been a
product of the master carver's workbench.”
The trade in transatlantic blockprints goes both ways: Bruce Fine Papers, who have provided
reproduction wallpaper for American houses, including the Great Hall at Gore Place, have
produced several multi-color block prints of note recently. This one has 6 colors:
Another has more subtle coloring:
An interesting project has been carried out by our neighbors to the north. After burrowing
through 7 layers of wallpaper, volunteers at the Ross Bay Villa found and brought back to life a
Gothic-revival design first hung in a dining room around 1865. The wallpaper’s design, featuring
motifs of Fleur de lis and Tudor roses, was based on an earlier wallpaper around 1850 designed
by Pugin and hung in the Houses of Parliament in London.

Taylor & Francis has published Journal of the Institute of Conservation
Vol. 38, Issue 1 with two articles of interest for wallpaper people:
“Water-resistant adhesives for paper, 1870-1920”
Abstract: Removal of tenacious adhesives is one of the major challenges in
paper conservation. This article examines what water-resistant adhesives
were used from 1870 to 1920 and comments on the implications of these
findings to the practicing paper conservator. Water-resistant formulations were found to be more
likely to contain animal glue and linseed oil as binders. Other non-water-soluble binders, such as
plant resins, shellac, gutta-percha and casein, were also used, as were mixtures of starch or flour
paste with animal glue. A variety of chemical hardeners were employed, including tannic acid,
formaldehyde and alum. The addition of substances containing multivalent metals such as
copper, lead, calcium and aluminum may also have had a hardening effect, though they may not
have been added for this reason.
“Technological complexity versus commercial aspects: study of an imitation gilt leather
wallpaper catalogue from the manufacturer Paul Balin (Paris, 1863-1898)”
Abstract: Embossed wallpapers made by the Parisian manufacturer Paul Balin dating from the
end of the nineteenth century were investigated to gain a better insight into the production
processes. The study focussed on a catalogue (reference number BP584) kept at the Royal
Museums of Art and History of Belgium in Brussels, presenting a luxurious collection of
wallpapers imitating gilt leather. Through a combination of both technical examinations and
physico-chemical analyses, the different steps in the production processes and the materials
(paper fibers, pigments, colorants, binding media, metal finishes) used to fabricate the wallpapers
were characterized. In addition to a better insight into the complexity and variety in
manufacturing techniques, the stratigraphic study allowed the researchers to obtain a clear
correlation between the price, annotated on each wallpaper sample, and the complexity and costs
of the applied production processes.

The Wallpaper History Discussion
Group on LinkedIn continues to grow
and has close to 1200 members: join us!
It's free and easy:
Found an English tax stamp! At the John Watson House in South Windsor, Connecticut.

This 1788 three-story wood-frame Georgian/Federal Style was built by Thomas Hayden for John
Watson, a prominent local merchant; it has four similar elevations; a massive hall stretches from
front to back; it is among the first such mansions to be built in the district, and is the only
remaining of its kind in the Connecticut River Valley.

In a third-floor bedroom on 7 feet of vertical wall space on three walls is a wallpaper with a
yellowy ground with black and white design colors; individual sheet sizes are around 21.5" wide
x 18" high; room has corner posts. Very rough paper (the only time I have witnessed deckle
edges on the front side of the paper!). Very wide overlaps, scissor-trimmed, elegant design but
poor block cutting; also poor handyman-type installation with no liner on gritty horsehair plaster.
Borderwork at window sills coming to sharp point as at the nearby Phelps-Hathaway House.
Perimeter, windows, and doors outlined in 2" dark border of few colors.

In a second-floor bedroom 9 feet of vertical wall space on three walls is a pinkish ground with 7
or 8 colors; elegant design with excellent production values; this room also has corner posts;
individual sheet sizes are around 20.5" x 27"; here, too, borderwork at window sills comes to a
sharp point. Perimeter, windows, and doors outlined in 3" border which clearly matches the
paper. Some paper which is pulling away from the wall shows a portion of an English tax stamp.

These are undoubtedly 18th century wallpapers of great historic importance. Their survival is in
question and a team of interested parties are brainstorming about logistic approaches and
preservation methods. Stay tuned!

Thanks in part to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Historic New
England announces the completion of a digitization project that makes its extensive wallpaper
collection more accessible.
More than 6,000 samples have been electronically catalogued. “Now the collection is searchable
by date, location, and manufacturer, and by keywords like color and type of pattern," says
cataloguer Peggy Wishart. “You can zoom in to see every detail.”

Historic New
collection ranges
from pristine
examples with
complete repeats
to small
fragments that are
part of a sequence
in a particular
room. The
collection also
fireboards, and
scenic panels,
many of which
are accessible
online for the first
Linda Eaton’s new book Printed Textiles is an updating of the classic 1970 sourcebook with the
same title by Florence Montgomery, which had gathered information from the mid-century
studies of Peter Floud and Barbara Morris at the V & A.

At a book launch in New York City, Eaton said that about 5,000 photos had been taken for the
update. In her opinion the photos were the most important part of the book: for the first time
readers can see what the textiles looked like, the 1970 book having used almost all black and
white pictures.
According to Eaton the English fabric trade
was huge, amounting to about 70% of all
English exports in 1840. I just used the term
"English" but she was at pains to point out
that the new subtitle ("British and American
Cottons and Linens") acknowledges the
roles of other countries. She said that the
vast majority of 18th printed textiles were
florals. When Floud and Morris were first
examining collections, it was commonly
thought that most copperplate textiles of
any worth were French, but Floud and
Morris found that many of the textiles in
the collections of large museums were
English. This trend continued with
Montgomery’s studies at Winterthur.

Museoviraston rakennushistorian osaston tapettitietokannasta voi hakea ajan, kuviotyyppien, värien tai
kohteiden mukaan suomalaisia tapetteja. Tietokanta perustuu tapettifragmenttien luetteloon. Museoviraston
näytteet on koottu rakennuksista korjausten yhteydessä tehdyistä inventoinneista 1960-luvulta lähtien. Osa
näytteistä on yksityisten henkilöiden lahjoittamia. Vanhimmat näytteet ovat 1700-luvulta, valtaosa on 1800luvulta ja 1900-luvun alkupuolelta.
Haku | Hakuohjeet | Tietoa tapeteista | Tekijät

The Finnish National Board of Antiquities has
created a digital catalog of wallpaper. In the
mid-18th century there were laws against luxury
goods from abroad, prompting the development of
Finnish wallpaper after 1740 or so.

An open access research paper about “Finnish Wallpaper Pigments in the 18th and 19th Century”
has been published.
The impulse to beautify walls has not been limited to rich or middle-class consumers buying
commercial products. One widespread phenomenon that deserves more attention is the practice
of applying newspaper to plank walls. This was not limited to Appalachia, but an interesting
account titled “Decorating The Appalachian Home” by Charles Martin appeared in Appalachia
and America: Autonomy and Regional Dependence, ed. by Allen Batteau. Lexington, Kentucky:
University Press of Kentucky, 1983.

Adelphi Paper Hangings has been busy.
In something of a coup, this American block printing company was chosen to reproduce several
wallpapers for Horace Walpole’s jewel box of a country home, Strawberry Hill in the
Twickenham section of London. Possibly the most challenging was an elaborate flock:

The project has resulted in several new patterns coming into the Adelphi line: two mid-18th
century small patterned sidewalls and another small pattern from 1772 which appears to be a
Several wallpapers of French origin (like Van Courtlandt Rosette, 1830s) have been added. These
are always welcome, but the stars of the recent additions are the new American patterns from the
late 1840s printed for the Dundurn Castle in Hamilton, Ontario. These handsome mid-sized
patterns are muscular and tightly printed. They’ll help fill a void in reproduction wallpaper from
the mid-19th century. It was during the 1840s to the 1860s that the American industry asserted
itself, ending the dominance of imported wallpaper and broadening the wallpaper market for the
growing American middle class, who chose less glamorous (and less expensive) wallpaper than
their forebears. Some American-produced wallpaper of note: Plymouth Medallion (1820-1840),
and Cowing House Border (below), c. 1815, both featuring vernacular motifs.

One of the new American papers is an ashlar (next page) and one a Gothic revival pattern (next
page), both produced for the Dundurn Castle.

When these papers were first hung in around 1845 the Canadian wallpaper industry was just
getting started. In a few more years, Canadians could patronize newcomers such as Moses
Staunton, an Irish blockprinter who settled in Toronto after a career in Belfast and Liverpool.
Adelphi recently completed a Reveillon arabesque for the Homewood Museum, located on the
grounds of Johns Hopkins University. The Palladian and Federal-style home was originally
constructed for Charles Carroll, Jr. in 1801. The 42” repeat wallpaper document was purchased at
auction. The pattern in a different colorway appears on page 115 of David Skinner’s, Wallpaper
in Ireland, 1700 – 1900.

A new Adelphi pattern was installed at the Isaiah Davenport House in Savannah; the architectural
border, thought to be American, was found at the nearby c. 1791 Berrien House.

The National Trust’s summer publication about their Arts, Buildings, and Collections is out.
With characteristic understatement the publication is called the “ABC bulletin” but I call these
19 pages and 40 color photos a work of scholarship. Topics range from the aftermath of the
devastating fire at Clandon Park in April, a mid-19th century Geological Gallery founded on
the principles of Hugh Miller, the re-construction of the Chinese Bridge at Croome Park, the
Blackburn Psalter (1260-80) on display until November 1, and a crowded French painting of
“An Allegory of Folly” c. 1600. Download the issue and discover the identity of the third fool
referred to in the inscription: “NOUS SOMMES TROIS”!
Photo Credit for our cover: an early American wallpaper donated to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum:
Gift of The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology, 1998-75-105.
A lecture about Gilded Age wallpaper at Ventfort Hall in Lenox, Massachusetts led to a series of
blog posts which will wander into surrounding territory…..

The Architectural Paints in Early New England all-day seminar took place at Historic
Deerfield, Massachusetts on July 25. Some 80 participants heard lectures, saw demonstrations,
and discussed the application of early American paint on walls, floors, and woodwork.
Susan Buck led by describing the evolution of paint analysis: “How We Know What We Know.”
The inspired (though sometimes mistaken) paint-scrapings of early 20th century restorationists
and more rigorous latter-day color-matching adventures of Penny Batcheler in Philadelphia,
Matt Mosca at Mt. Vernon and Morgan Phillips in his long tenure at SPNEA, the Munsell color
system, and the work of Ian Bristow were only a few of the topics covered in her comprehensive
talk, which would make an excellent article or small book.
She described the evolution of equipment which began with elbow grease and primitive paint
scrapings and gave way to solvents. Progress continued to FTIR (Fourier transform infrared
spectroscopy) and other microscopy equipment, which can easily cost between five and six
She found time for a few case studies such as the description of 14 layers of exterior paint at a
former Shaker settlement in Enfield, New Hampshire. She described the evolution of colors at
Monticello, notably in the blue dining room (now yellow) and the investigation of Jefferson’s
green louvered exterior “porticle” (Venetian porches). The effort directed at the louvers gained
momentum when a blind was found in an attic. Analysis showed that two base coats were
varying intensities of green verdigris on wood. The investigators took the time to mix up some
green verdigris with muller and slab. The questions of “how quickly does verdigris age? and
what happens to the color?” arose. The discovery that the darkening of color was relatively quick
(substantial change in five years) helped establish the final choice of color. This color change
may have been a factor in Jefferson’s lifetime. A fresh green which anchors the house in most
seasons was the final choice.
She ended by documenting the efforts of the world-wide paint community to come together to
create standards. Though progress has been slow on this front she pointed to a hopeful sign:
more gatherings are scheduled. In fact, the next meeting of the Traditional Paint Forum, a
British-based group, is scheduled to take place any day now at the Geffrye Museum in London
on November 6, 2015:
If Buck’s presentation was long on methodology, the next talk balanced it nicely with a
passionate, personal approach. Brian Powell offered a whirlwind tour of the first two centuries
of American paint use. His longtime experience as architectural conservator at SPNEA (now
Historic New England) and in private practice as part of the BCA group (Building Conservation
Associates) gave him a unique grounding to comment constructively on attitudes, both helpful
and otherwise, toward historic paint. His slides of color use at historic sites probably exceeded
100. Nevertheless this onslaught was easy to digest because of his engaging style.
The sub-theme of his survey was “regret.” Regret that promising, new, and tangential
discoveries could not always be followed up. Regret that budgets run out. Regret that as

knowledgeable as we have become at finding paint, we don’t always recognize how it relates to
other paint, once we find it. Regret also that the FTIR and sophisticated solvents that we
routinely work with now were unavailable in the early and mid-20th century, when much was
lost in the name of restoration. He regards the wholesale refinishing of balusters, rails, and newel
posts as a widespread and regrettable fetish.
Much of his professional work, at the request of clients, has been devoted to finding solid colors
on woodwork. But, on some occasions he found graining colors, often fugitive, on woodwork.
It was interesting to see some slides of whitewash on early buildings c. 1680-1720. Apparently
whitewash was commonly used on early beams but has now fallen off, a development that is
only now being understood. In one case (at the Pierce House, Dorchester, MA) dark red daub
dots had consolidated the whitewash, which had otherwise fallen off the wood on all sides,
leaving only the red dots. Powell suggested that the use of strong colors was much more typical
of the colonial American experience than we have realized.
Other Powellisms: “As the 18th century went on, the aspirational thing was to paint the entire
house. Yet diaries of travelers tell us that most housing stock remained unpainted”; “Yellow
ochre was the great workhorse of the American exterior house painter.”; “I beat my head against
the exterior of that house three times” (speaking of his attempts at deciphering the paint trail at
the Webb House in Connecticut). “Right where the newel post hit the floor, I was able to see the
decorative painting” (at the 1750 George Tate house in Maine). At this house, though many
baseboards were gone, the scribing which remained on the floorboards was a clue. The
tessellated floor cloth was extant and helped lead the investigators to the painted risers of the
stairway. The cove in the ceiling above the stairway showed a bright red and, along with black
pinstripes along the side moldings, suggested strongly that more generous amounts of vivid color
were likely used on the enclosed panels - although there is now no trace of it.
Linda Lefko, a decorative painter in historic styles and co-author of “Folk Art Murals of the
Rufus Porter School: New England Landscapes 1825-1845” presented a slide show of the work
of the Porter family, John Avery, and other practitioners.
The range of colors and motifs evident was impressive. It raises important questions about the
context: how much were these painters paid? And how long did their work take? How long was
it before they decamped for the next town?
Of special interest was Lefko’s announcement that the web site of the Center for Painted Wall
Preservation is now operational. The Center seeks to document original painted mural finishes
on walls and serve as a resource for those interested in preserving these endangered vernacular
art forms. The Center has published an interesting list of houses with painted mural decoration
open to the public:!walls-open-to-public/c1qfh
Two practical demonstrations took place in the afternoon: Mary Lou Davis, conservator and
practitioner of historic decorative painting, showed many steps in the graining and decorative
painting process. Her focus was on the differences between distemper (quick) and oil (not so
quick) mediums. Wielding feathers, rags, combs, and several unique tools she soon produced

simulations of flame mahogany, fir, and quarter-sawn and figured oak on sample boards. Her
expert presentation of graining skill was an eye-opener and a direct link to the largely
anonymous “grainers to the trade” who had produced much of the work we had admired during
the slide presentations in the morning.
The team of Chris Mills and Erika Sanchez Goodwillie demonstrated the arduous art of
grinding pigments on a slab and in a 19th century paint mill prior to painting a large piece of
woodwork. Again, Ian Bristow was singled out as an essential influence during the period that
Chris and Ericka were studying and developing a rigorous approach to grinding and applying
paint in historic structures. Other pioneers recognized were Chris Orhstrom and Don
Carpentier for their innovative workshops about paint production at Eastfield Village in the
It was interesting to see Prussian blue pigment and linseed oil as it was turned into, at first, a
greasy mess. By the end of this 45-minute session, it was paint, and a good-looking paint at that.
It was then applied to a sample of woodwork. Some of the trials, tribulations, and satisfactions of
painting woodwork and walls were shared. The fact that many thousands of square feet need to
be covered (as opposed to several square inches in a lab) explains why the team does not always
hew to archeologically correct recipes and methods of their 18th and early-19th century
forebears. In some cases they’ve resorted to applying commercial shellacs for their superior
sealing properties. Their paint treatments now adorn walls, ceilings, and woodwork at dozens of
important historic sites, for example, at the Great Hall of the Van Rensselaer Manor House
(alongside the stunning 18th century landscape paper), now installed at the Met.
One of the organizers, Bill Flynt, architectural conservator at Historic Deerfield, which itself is
comprised of many late 18th and early 19th century buildings, pronounced himself satisfied with
the turnout.
Another decorative arts seminar at Historic Deerfield will take place November 13-15, 2015.
“Yankee Ingenuity and New England Decorative Arts, 1790-1840” will examine the success
of what might be called an early “Buy American” program. While traditional luxury goods from
Europe continued in some demand, the steady pace of western expansion, aided by
protectionism, opened up an increasingly reliable and lucrative home market for local goods. The
region’s inventors, merchants and hucksters exploited the opportunity, providing America’s
growing middle class with patent clocks, popular prints, glassware, stoneware, tinware, pewter,
cast iron stoves…and wallpaper.
For more information: <>
Historic Deerfield also used the opportunity to bring the Stephen Wolf Collection to the
attention of the students, colleagues, and professionals in other fields who attended the seminar.


The Stephen L. Wolf Collection
Long-time friend of Historic Deerfield, Stephen Wolf of New York City, grew up in and later
operated the family paint business, founded in 1869. Steve built a private library on the topics of
paint, varnish, and color theory dating from the 16th century onward—some 1,300 titles. His
bequest of the library to Historic Deerfield assures in perpetuity the public relevance of his
library—and places Historic Deerfield’s reference and rare book collection in this field in the
same league as the Faber Birren Collection at Yale.
Highlights of the collection include: Lomazzo’s A Tracte Containing the Artes of Curious
Paintinge Carvinge Buildinge Written first in Italian…and Englished by [Richard Haydocke] …
(Oxford: 1598), and Stalker and Parker’s A Treatise of Japaning & Varnishing (Oxford:1688).
Many of the most beautiful books were published during the latter half of the 19th century. They
join other important titles with focused interest on New England, like the edition of
Marcet’s Conversations on Chemistry … published in Greenfield, Massachusetts, in 1818, and
Rufus Porter’s A New Collection of Genuine Receipts…(Boston: 1831).
The Wolf Collection is available to researchers interested in fine art, interior decoration, carriage
painting, japanning, color theory, wall treatments, dyeing, enameling, glazing, theatrical set
design, art restoration, varnishes, gilding, and the manufacture of paint.

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