This is a contemporary printing using the original woodblocks of a scenic wallpaper called the Views of the American War of Independence, which was first produced by Zuber et Cie in 1852. This is an adaptation of an earlier scenic called the Views of North America, which highlights some of the scenic wonders of North America. Also called Scenic America, the set contains scenes of Niagara Falls, New York Bay, Boston Harbor, and West Point. To create this scenic of the American Revolution, Zuber retained the background scenery from Views of North America, but changed the foreground imagery from tourists and leisurely pursuits to soldiers and battle scenes. The updated scenes became General Washington on his white horse issuing orders to his men in front of the falls, the taking of an English redout, the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, and the triumphal entry of General Washington into Boston. This scenic paper is truly a block-printing marvel. A full set contains 32 panels, is printed in 360 colors, and requires 2,300 wood blocks to print.
Cooper-Hewitt maintains a sizeable and growing collection of scenic wallpapers and murals dating from the early 19th century to the present. Early scenic wallpapers tended to follow the painting style of the day and focused on natural beauty, places of wonder, and mythology. While the more contemporary scenics still follow trends in the arts and design, they tend to have more of a focus on reality, although that reality can be somewhat obscured by artistic license. And new digital printing methods allow these papers to precisely capture minute detail.
Founded in 1797, Zuber is probably the oldest wallpaper company still operating today. Zuber has always produced a very high-end product, and was one of the key manufacturers producing scenic wallpapers. Many of their early scenic wallpapers are still being produced today.