I decided to blog about this floral swag frieze produced in the early twentieth century. The design is fairly typical for the period with large floral swags, which here alternate with ribbon swags, suspended from pendant fixtures projecting from an architectural molding. What is unusual about this paper is the width, measuring in at thirty inches. Thirty inches is the standard size for screen-printed wallpapers today, but in 1906 the standard width for papers was about twenty-two inches wide. The Robert Graves Company prided themselves on their wide friezes, which allowed them to create elaborate pictorial effects in their landscape designs, or to just throw in extra layers of swags. A 1907 Graves company catalog shows numerous frieze designs in this thirty-inch width.

I was able to get a specific date on this paper as I found an illustration in the Wall Paper News trade magazine. The frieze is shown with a wide-striped wallpaper which carries down to the chair rail molding. The bottom edge of the frieze is cut off up to the edge of the swags creating a scalloped effect. Below the chair rail are printed borders used to make a panel effect. The furnishings are in the Louis XVI style, which sit on a large area rug which extends up to the inlaid borders of the wood flooring.

One of the premiere wallpaper companies in New York City, the Robert Graves Company was in business by 1882 and operated until 1930. Fortunately for researchers, they loved to advertise and promote their wares which is a major help in cataloging their wallpapers.

Greg Herringshaw is the Assistant Curator of Wallcoverings.

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