This is an interesting paper reproducing images of game birds from John James Audubon’s Birds of America. Originally created in watercolors by Audubon between 1827-1838, Katzenbach has faithfully reproduced the images as lithographs to accurately capture the softness and texture of the watercolor pigments. The selected birds include, from top to bottom: the White-fronted goose, American Snipe, Mallard Duck, Great American Hen, Canvas backed Duck, and the California Partridge. Katzenbach’s focus on game birds would make this paper appropriate for the gentlemen in the family, and could have been used in a bedroom, den or family room. The design seems a little awkward with the wide band of crossed feathers on the left side, but perhaps this prevents the overwhelming density of just having the bird prints pasted wall to wall. This paper was available with a companion paper which consisted only of the crossed feather pattern. This would allow for the game bird and feather stripe paper to be used as a focal wall with the crossed feather pattern used on the remaining three walls. Or the stripe bird paper could be used above the chair rail, with the feather paper being installed below. Plenty of options if you’re into birds and feathers.
Lithographed wallpapers first appeared in 1905 and were the sold production of the Schmitz-Horning Company in Cleveland, Ohio. They created an extensive line of scenic murals as well as designs for children. One of the benefits of lithographed wallpapers was that they were printed with oil colors which created an early washable surface. There weren’t many companies producing lithographed wallpapers so it seems unusual to find this Game Bird design produced in 1948. This was probably a result of Katzenbach wanting to reproduce the Audubon images as accurately as possible.