A Hunting We Will Go

Landscape friezes were popularized by Walter Crane’s May Tree frieze in 1896 and remained popular into the 1920s. Beginning around 1900 many wide friezes were developed for children, and this hunting frieze would have been appropriate for a boy’s room as well as a library or dining room. This panel shows the hunters, horses and dogs at rest in front of a lodge or cabin in a very stylized landscape setting, presumably at the start or end of a hunt.
wallpaper, border, frieze, Hunting, dogs, horses, landscape

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

Borders that Blend

This piece offers a unique take on border designs. Borders with the bottom edge cut out to follow the printed design began appearing shortly after 1900. This die-cut and embossed example came into fashion around the same time and carried this cut-out idea a step further. This paper is embossed to give it some relief, die-cut to create an irregular bottom edge and expose areas of the background, and airbrushed in a single color to make it more decorative and give it more depth.
border, grapes, cut-out, airbrushed, Green

Clean and Beautiful: Sanitary Wallpapers

The Oritani frieze is one of a number of wallpapers in the Cooper-Hewitt collection that contain a printed inscription in the selvedge that reads: "Antiseptic Pat'd 8-9-04". This was a patent filed by the William Campbell Wall Paper Company in 1904 that was said to prevent the absorption of germs into the wallpaper’s pigment. This patent notification appeared mostly on children’s wallpapers but the process was also used on papers for more general use.
wallpaper, border, frieze, sanitary, washable, Egli, Campbell, Oritani

For the Not-so-Minimal Interior

The simplistic styling of the poppies frieze shows the effect of the Mission Style on the American interior. Gone are the embossed surfaces, metallic pigments, scrolling medallions, and other excesses of the Victorian period. The floral motifs have been reduced to their most basic elements while still appearing to have some depth. Traditionally a block-printed design would use about 6 colors to shade each given element, while here the entire design is printed in 7.
wallpaper, frieze, border, poppy, ingrain, Mission style

Wallpapering your Floor

This parquet border design came into the collection with a group of wallpapers all produced during the late 19th century. And if memory serves me correctly, this group of papers was found in San Francisco which means they survived the great earthquake and fire of 1906 which devastated the city. This was a diverse group of papers ranging from high-end block printed designs to more inexpensive mass-produced machine-printed designs. This roll of paper belonged to the latter group. It was printed in very few colors on very thin paper with a wood pulp composition.
Parquet, border, wallpaper, woodgrain

Learning Can Be Fun

Alphabet border by William Wegman was a charming addition to the field of children’s wallpapers in 1993. Wegman began photographing his weimaraners in 1970 and his photographs became a huge favorite with adults and children alike. What’s not to like about a beautiful dog holding a goofy pose! Alphabet border takes the dog photography a step further by making it educational. The dogs are arranged in groups of 2 to 5 dogs, spelling out the different letters of the alphabet from A to Z.
wallpaper, border, dog, ABCs, alphabet, Wegman