This is a wallpaper dado, in the neoclassical style which would be hung at the bottom of the wall between the baseboard and chair rail. As it is located near the floor, the dado is visually supporting the weight of the wall and for this reason it was frequently architectural in nature. The deep colonnade of Corinthian columns and the massive figure of Hercules seem capable of this task.
Hercules, known for his strength, is shown here supporting the weight of the world, while at the same time holding up the wall. Set between the repeating figures of Hercules is a framed vignette of a clothed Venus, standing in a shell being pulled by a pair of dolphins. A winged putto rests on the back of another dolphin nearby. The sun is breaking through the clouds, casting a golden glow on the scene. This vignette is set within a faux stone panel, hung with foliate festoons loaded with fruit. Festoons were a popular motif of neoclassical architecture and of the decorative arts.

This design is a woodblock print of joined sheets of handmade paper. Prior to 1820 all paper was made by hand, in single sheets, which were then glued together end to end to form rolls. A ground color was applied over the entire front surface and then the design was printed, with one block for each color. This design is printed in nine colors over a painted ground of light green.

Numerous wallpapers printed during this period are printed in grisaille, or shades of gray. This paper is printed in a monochrome green color scheme with accents printed in grisaille. The use of this technique made the printed elements appear more sculptural and gave them a look of antiquity. The use of grisaille on this paper allows the figure of Hercules to be the dominant feature, while the more delicate garlands draw attention to the rather subtle landscape scene.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *