Gregory Herringshaw

Hooks and Frocks


Deborah's work is a contemporary example of trompe l'oeil which has a very long history in wallcoverings. Many of the earliest wallpapers were imitations of textiles, stone and architectural elements. The photo montage technique and the designer’s invite to interact with the scene are very contemporary takes on the mural tradition.  Hooks and Frocks is printed in a gray scale with only the dresses picked out in bright colors.
mural, interior, screen print, hooks, frocks, chair, wallpaper

India Chintz All Pieced Together


People are always inquiring how the Museum acquires its wallpaper samples. Wallpapers come to the museum in a variety of ways: they can be donated by the manufacturer when produced, sometimes people find old sample books or remnants of wallpaper up in the attic or garage, and sometimes antique samples are removed from the walls of old homes. Not all papers in the Museum’s collection are pristine, with many examples having spent decades or centuries hanging on the walls of homes, not always protected from the elements.
wallpaper, chintz, chintz figures, inpaint

Paper it Red


This paper contains a repeating pattern of light red poppies against a field of deep red foliage printed on a red ingrain paper. An ingrain paper is one that is colored in the pulp stage of production so the color runs through the paper rather than just being printed on the surface. This gives the papers a softer, somewhat mottled appearance. Also known as cartridge papers, they were favored over printed-ground papers or painted walls which had a very flat appearance. In 1877, James Munroe of Massachusetts patented a process for making ingrain papers and they quickly became fashionable.
wallpaper, red, poppies, foliage, machine print, S.A. Maxwell

Window Shade


Window shades and curtain papers are one of the lesser known collecting areas of the Wallcoverings Department. This shade depicting a lace panel suspended from a carved wood cornice is a beautiful example of late-19th century window shades. The shade in printed on a heavy paper that has a chalky blue ground color applied to both sides making it very opaque.
Window shade, spring roller, lace, bouquet, tassel, trompe l'oeil

Sparkie, the little boy with big ambitions


I first came across this wallpaper when I was looking for children’s wallpapers for an exhibition I worked on a number of years ago. Sparkie was a puppet who believed he was a real boy, and he played the central figure in Big Jon and Sparkie, a children’s radio show that aired on Saturday mornings from 1950-1958. Big Jon and Sparkie was a serial with adaptations of classic books or original adventures adapted from Arthur's neighborhood.
wallpaper, Big Jon, Sparkie, puppet, American history, radio

Portraiture on Wallpaper with George Washington


This wallpaper panel contains a block-printed portrait of George Washington rendered about half-life size. It is unusual to have portraits featured on wallpaper but is seen more often on panels as opposed to repeating designs. The portrait is printed in a monochrome colorway of tans and brown imitating statuary, on a combed ground simulating oak wood grain. Washington is shown dressed in military attire standing on a plinth with a cannon and shot at his feet.
wallpaper, George Washington, American Revolution, War of 1812, statuary, monochrome

Will the real Esther please stand up?


This firescreen or overdoor is based on the 1738 painting La Toilette d'Esther by Jean-François de Troy (French, 1679-1752). This wallpaper is an almost exact replication of the original oil painting by de Troy. The manufacturer has used about 40 printed colors to capture the lushness of the original painting with all its luxurious textiles. Each printed color required about 5 different shades to create this sense of depth. As this is a wood block print, each different color required a separate hand-carved woodblock.
wallpaper, firescreen, overdoor, Esther, Jean-Francois de Troy

Wallpaper Cubed


I have always found these cubist wallpapers charming and attractive in their simple design format. These were produced in a wide array of styles but all contained some arrangement of seemingly random cube patterns printed in pastel colors. Virtually all of these designs were printed on an ungrounded paper. The application of a ground color became more important with the introduction of wood pulp paper in the 1850s. As you are probably aware, papers containing wood pulp tend to oxidize and start turning brown shortly after production.
wallpaper, cubist, pastel, kitchen, decor, interior design

Sticky Decorations


I have always been curious and slightly amused by wallpapers containing imagery of cob webs. Seems to me people are always taking brooms and vacuum extensions to get rid of these pesky things and I could not understand why people would buy papers with these spider-inspired motifs to decorate their homes. The sample I’m showing was produced from 1906-08 and was available in five different colorways, all very pale shades of off-white, yellow and green. Due to the very pale coloring and subtle patterning I would assume these were intended to be used as ceiling papers.
wallpaper, spider web, cobweb, ceiling design, Tiffany, William Justema, Marthe Armitage

Make Every Day a Dog Day


I was recently scrolling through images of wallpapers in the collection and was surprised and delighted to see how many of them contained images of dogs. While dogs appear on wallpapers intended for adults as well as children, the imagery on papers for children is far more amusing and the focus of this blog. The early 20th century was the highpoint of children’s wallpaper design and many delightful wallpapers for children were created.
wallpaper, border, dog, Children, William Wegman, Walter Crane

Pages