This is an imitation stone design. I’m not sure what type of stone this is but the colors are quite intense and there is no question this is supposed to look like an actual stone surface. This is woodblock-printed in five colors on a blue ground, with one wood block needed to print each color. Woodblock printing is a very precise process and if the blocks are not printed in the correct order and on register the design does not read correctly. I mention this fact because at first glance this design appears to be hand painted because it is difficult to pinpoint the exact repeat. On this design most often one color is printed over another: the yellow over the green, the tan over the brown which gives the design more depth. However, the block used to print the green color is also used on its own, independent of the yellow. To make the pattern look more organic and less contrived, the printers rotated the blocks as they moved down the length of paper. This is a very clever and unusual technique that would only work in limited situations such as this imitation stone.

Imitation stone papers were frequently hung below the chair rail as dados, or used on the walls in the entry. Ashlar block designs with the blocks already delineated over a stone ground were available, but they were usually printed with either large or small blocks and might not be the right scale for the intended use. So papers such as this could be used for a more tailored look: after the paper was installed the block delineations could be painted on in the perfect scale for the interior.

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