CONSERVATION OF A DECORATION WITH WALLPAPER "FRESH" 1-6 CONSERVATION OF A DECORATION WITH WALLPAPER "FRESH" by Susan Nash http://www. 20Story.html (Editor's Note: The owners have asked us not to publish their location for fear of theft or vandalism. His wish was respected.) INTRODUCTION The wallpaper in th e dining room of a plantation in Mississippi was a rare surviving example of one of the most interesting interior layouts of the 1850s. Was the subject of in si tu conservation, in 1999-2000, by Susan Nash, Conservative Paper, professional i ndependent Shepherdstown, Virginia (United States). The WALLPAPER The decor of t his wallpaper and this room is called the "decor" or "cool." It is characterized by the use of a frame on paper that breaks down the walls into sections, usuall y with a consistent role filling behind. In the book "Wallpaper in America," say s Catherine Lynn "The wallpapers with a particular type of pattern were called" fresh papers during the mid-nineteenth century. "A. J. Downing explained in "The Country On Architecture" that these "fresh papers ... gave the same effect as i f the walls to form compartments or panels with appropriate cornices and molding s. "Many American homes preserve examples of fresh papers, where the elements of frame panels surrounding a relatively large expanse of flat color, or a simple pattern and discreet, focusing produced a decorative element, or a statue ... Th ese "décors" became the concern of the famous French factories, from the 1840s through the 1860s. The Americans used the term "fresh papers in the same way tha t the French used" décors. The papers "fresh" imitated wood grain paneling. An example of wooden beams, executed in the style "fresh", molding with red figured , would survive in degraded conditions in this house in Mississippi. CONSERVATION OF A DECORATION WITH WALLPAPER "FRESH" 2-6 The arrangement of this wallpaper is a rare surviving example of paper with wood en beams and ornate moldings, a monochromatic palette. All designs of wood grain s are brown on a cream background, and beaded floral, in Greek style, has brown shadows. Only a band in red embroidery on the corners and adds some color. There is indeed a red but a bright orange, a vermilion. Thus, the overall effect, whe n it was originally applied, was lightly colored walls with a discreet design sh aded, highlighted in orange. Catherin Lynn says on the wood-grain papers: "Beyon d imitation fabrics, specialty French" trompe l'oeil "included imitations of woo d grain ... Even the harshest critics, who warned against imitations of surfaces with any material other than himself, were enchanted by the wooden beams ... "F or example, in October 1849 issue of the Journal of Design", the editors include d a small sample of the wallpaper imitating English Oak Pollard 1, manufactured by Robert Horne. Apparently recognizing his own inconsistency, the editors comme nted: "Our readers know that imitation is difficult to reconcile with our princi ples but we must sustain our approval on the admirable manner in which the artis t mimicked the wood here. Applied to a surface perfectly smooth and well polishe d, it can fool even an experienced eye. His "illusion" overall is excellent. " I n the book "The Wall papered: History, Pattern, Technique" edited by Lesley Hosk ins, Berbard Jacqué, in his essay entitled "Luxury Perfected: The ascendency of French Wallpaper, 1770-1870," states: "The 1840s witnessed the systematic devel opment a kind of wallpaper that had appeared in the late eighteenth century. Kno wn in France as "décor" (less often for "decoration", "wainscoting" or "encadre ment") in England by "pilaster and panel decoration", and the United States for "fresh paper," this paper is an integrated scheme organized around a panel in th e form of a wall paneled with wood. " The advertising lithographs of the period generally showed a panel, a panel through narrower, a pillar, a crown, corners,

a frieze and cornice, and a plinth to the bottom of the wall. The ingenuity of t his scheme to these decorations allowed to adapt to any size room, to allow any element to be extended or contracted. In Roseland, the walls were measured and m arked with a pencil on plaster,€to describe the divisions of each wall and the location of bands of wallpaper with wooden beams. The grain of the wood was appl ied so as to be always parallel to the lines of the frame. Inside the frame, the shaft was applied vertically. The frames consisted of chants in vermilion with a large flower, and flowers alternating with slits were cut into pieces with the appropriate size. The formation of a regular and consistent pattern alternating with flowers was a challenge, not always successfully resolved. The various pan els of the walls and plinth were well aligned. On the wall of the porch, instead of the frames if they hit the wall with the spaces available, it was a great ov erlapping pattern of frames that was interrupted by the doors and windows. Howev er, the pattern remained regular plinth because it had no interruptions. 1 N.T. - A species of oak CONSERVATION OF A DECORATION WITH WALLPAPER "FRESH" 3-6 TECHNOLOGY OF WALLPAPER This paper was printed with inks of two gouache (called "inks" in the paper) on a large continuous piece of paper manufactured with a hi gh rag content. The inks were applied using large blocks of wood carved for each color. In this wallpaper, in particular, there were five different shades of br own on a cream colored base with corners and strips vermilion, constituting a pa ttern of seven colors in total. The wallpaper that were printed on the wallpaper with a high rag content because they wanted to maintain the flexibility of this role. Was applied directly on a wall plastered smooth except in the alcove, whe re a wooden wall separating the dining room of a small kitchen. Here was stretch ed and nailed a screen and is then applied over this role. After being settled, the paper has been varnished. This varnish was not analyzed, but is probably a m ixture of substances including lacquer. FURNISHING OF OTHER DIVISIONS There is a large gap in a wooden arch, formed on the north wall, with a key protruding woo d on the center. All the carpentry work, except the rim, which is painted black, was coated wood has the same shade as the wallpaper, and fully lacquered. In fa ct, seems to have been coated after applying the wallpaper, because it goes unde r the rule of wainscot, and came from wood and varnish are above it. Because the overlay seems to be the same and have been applied at the same time, the room i s consistently yellow at the same rate and maintains a uniform appearance. The c eiling was made with boards and cover together, and is painted white. Along the cornice and below the top of the wallpaper, you can find blue paint. This indica tes that the ceiling was blue before the wallpaper was installed. The legend say s that the flies do not land on a ceiling blue. CONDITION OF WALLPAPER The patte rn of the wallpaper was intact, unless a panel of the plinth beside the door of the back porch. This area was filled with cement. The paper was gray and dirty i n front of the fireplace, varnish and paints were oxidized and had almost disapp eared in places. There were lots of paper losses running to the mouth of the lin tel of the fireplace and on one side, especially in the plinth. On top of the wa ll had accumulated soot. As a result of a settlement of non-uniform structure of the fireplace, there were many gaps, including a gap too large, deep, branched and separated, which was heading upward, the right side. In the eastern wall, al ong the top there were areas with severe damage resulting from water, where the wallpaper was deformed and which had fallen parts. To disguise this damage had b een done a painting overlaid with an oil paint red and green. On the back porch door, the paper had been covered with 2

Paints in the original. CONSERVATION OF A DECORATION WITH WALLPAPER "FRESH" 4-6 red ink. Above the door of the room had gone a joist creating a bulge in the stu cco. The wall had been deformed inward, and the plaster was very broken in the c orner, missing pieces of plaster and paper. There were networks of cracks along the walls, some deep and branched. The wallpaper was torn at these sites and cre vices had accumulated dust. The wall of the porch was in fairly good condition. Repairs had been made in the old plinth with cement, and had used red ink to hid e. Interior walls of the alcove, the nails had rusted and eaten through the fabr ic, which had eventually disappeared. Most of the screen was loose. The inks wer e brittle, probably€due to movement of the belt resulting from changes in humid ity. At the door, and the plinth area above the rule of wainscot were extensivel y marked and scratched. There were arches damage caused by insects, characterize d by loss of lacy patterns on paper, until the plaster. TREATMENT STORAGE Clean walls were all carefully brushed with sponges "Absorene" for cleaning wallpaper. In the eastern wall, the coat of varnish was darker and thicker, which was reduced by alcohol. The ink was torn or partially torn, with a "peeling" commercial for wallpaper, and then washed with solvents. This ink l eft, almost always, a "ghost" red. In areas where the paper was too soft, as a r esult of damage caused by mold, paint removal would further damage the paper. Th en the oil paint was left to stay. The area of the back porch door was especiall y painted over, to a large extent. Much of this red ink left, leaving the design intact and paper underneath, but was left a large area of green paint near the door. The other areas were heavily painted over in the southeast corner that was broken. Most of this had disappeared, and had been applied to time, much ink or where the paper was lost, either on top of the paper remaining. Repair cracks a nd fill losses in the stucco walls of branched cracks were repaired by lifting t he paper from the edge of the slot, and fill with a lighter composite repair. Ab out this filing, we applied a patch with Japanese paper, using a glue methylcell ulose. The edges of the wallpaper were then glued with the same glue. The southe ast corner involved a complex of stucco repair. First, the paper strips on each side of the slits were softened with alcohol and water, and then removed. After the crack has been cleaned of loose pieces of plaster. As the eastern wall was b ulging, you could not create a good angle of 45 degrees. Were applied on both wa lls, pieces of textile fiberglass for repairs, so as to form a reasonable angle, a strong network with glue one side, manufactured by "PermaGlas-Mesh". Finally, this corner has been plastered over with plaster of Paris "3, thus creating a n ew song. Some cracks were so fine that were untouched. 3 N.T. - Gypsum plaster current. CONSERVATION OF A DECORATION WITH WALLPAPER "FRESH" 5-6 Patching the gaps in the paper Wherever there was missing pieces of paper on the walls, was placed a patch of Japanese paper. The edges of each gap were raised and the Japanese paper was cut to fit the size of the gap. This was glued to the wall with methylcellulose. Then the edges of the wallpaper glue and received we re pressed down. In some insect holes larger on the bow, and glue the hole recei ved clung Japanese paper. Then, after drying, the Japanese paper was cut with a scalpel, the precise shape of the hole insect. Though successful, this was very time consuming to continue to do. Large tracks of wallpaper on both sides of the

southeast corner were removed in preparation for the repair of that corner. The se tracks were laid, face down on a desk covered with polyethylene, and its larg e gaps behind lined with Japanese paper. So, the tracks were filled with Japanes e paper using methyl cellulose glue and left on the polyethylene, stretched and dry, face down. Once dry, they leave the plastic very easily. A small portion of the plinth on the south side of the front of the fireplace was removed and repa ired in the studio. Very large gaps were filled with Japanese paper and toned wi th watercolor or watery latex paint, then the set was behind lined with Japanese paper and wheat starch pastes cooked. Once dried, the repaired sections of the wallpaper on the walls were restored. This was done by applying several coats of methylcellulose on the walls. Was then applied to brush a layer of sticky methy lcellulose, the wallpaper relaxed by spraying with water / ethanol, and the port ions put in place and brushed. The excesses of Japanese paper lining were cut, a fter dried. Tissue repair tissue was also removed from the outline in rusty nail s and placed horizontally. The wooden wall was brushed with methylcellulose, and was applied a strong acrylic emulsion on the contours of the tissue. The screen was embossed with a large brush. Around the contour,€new galvanized nails were used to strengthen the bond with the fabric glue. The heads of these nails were gleaming retouched with latex paint to stay hidden. The consolidation of the pa int thicker areas of paint, located on the border, were cracked and curled at th e edges. Walls with fabric, all the ink was crumbly and brittle. This paint was consolidated by applying the brush cups very hot on the cracked areas, it was le ft to dry and soften the surface, the paint and then burnished with an iron reco rder. CONSERVATION OF A DECORATION WITH WALLPAPER "FRESH" 6-6 Painting In large areas of old paint that covered important areas of decorating, the color of the original paint was covered with paint eggshell latex interior "Sherwin-Williams." The shades of cream and half of the fund resulting shadow of discolored varnish, were variously mixed together, modified with watercolor or gouache, or applied directly into gaps, and then glazed with transparent waterco lor, as the situation demanded. When it dried, was slightly shiny, and watercolo r was very well received. This, when dry, is not soluble in water, so that chang es could be made at the top edges of the painting, without being removed from th e tone of the base. The gray of the fire was toned paper, by applying thin washe s of transparent watercolor "Windsor & Newton." The replacement of the original decor was essential to the aesthetic appearance of the room. This was achieved b y a primer overpainting with latex paint diluted with water. Afterwards, they ma de several stencil corresponding to dark brown, red at the corners, and one of t he half tones of cream flowers. We used a different design for each group of flo wers as reference, according to a color photocopy of the corners. Flowers and da rker shades of the borders were not recreated in all its details, but were used shapes, shades and contrasts to suggest. The stencil was used for the basic form s and then the details were finished by brush. The figures of wood grain paper f illers were sometimes brushed with watercolor transparency. Was slightly scratch ed a watercolor, with a dry brush on the broad flat areas. Coating whole room wa s varnished, originally. Some of the larger painted areas, and the paper behind the door were covered with a thin coat of lacquer amber. Translation by Antonio de Borja Araujo, eng. No civil IST June 10, 2003