Historic wallpaper dating

“The collection is searchable by date, location, and manufacturer, and by keywords like color and type of pattern,” cataloguer Peggy Wishart said in a press release.“You can zoom in to see every detail.”The archive tells the regional history of wallpaper from the early 18th century, when it was still a luxury import, through after the American Revolution, when manufacturers like Ebenezer Clough, Moses Grant, and Zechariah Mills began woodblock printing their own. Papers were not always stripped prior to re decoration, particularly where they still provided a firm support.Sandwiches of 20-30 layers are not unusual and can provide a valuable record of the decoration and use of building.

Much of the expense of these early wallpapers was due to the fact that the rolls they were printed on had to be made up of individual sheets of paper glued together and that they were hand-printed with wood blocks, one block for each color of the design.Since 2002, the inception of the project, the wallpaper collection has grown to over 6,000 pieces, which conservators at the Historic New England are tasked with repairing, correcting and treating for posterity.The online database makes available a collection that covers three centuries, including pieces imported to the United States in the early days to William Morris designs to the real deal -- retro vinyl masterpieces.It surfaces throughout literature, too — in books like Now all of us who share Waterhouse’s fascination with wallpaper can explore her 1,400-item-strong collection online.After her death, the archive was donated to Historic New England, which recently finished digitizing it along with 4,800 other wallpaper samples.Remarkably, many original wallpaper examples survive in situ in reasonable condition but even in fragmentary form they can still provide a unique archaeological record of change and development within an historic interior.


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