trompe l’oeil

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Image features a rustic wallpaper design containing a haphazard arrangement of twigs. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
All Sticks, No Stones
In celebration of World Pride, June Object of the Day posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection. Kennebec is a fun, playful wallpaper pattern that would hang unobtrusively on the wall, adding a bit of color and texture to the room. The design is rustic in nature, given that it has the appearance...
Image shows a print room-style wallpaper with framed views of Washington Square Park, New York City. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Picturing Washington Square Park
In celebration of Women’s History Month, March Object of the Day posts highlight women designers in the collection. Picture Gallery copies the format of a print room wallpaper. The trend for print rooms was said to have started in Paris during the 1720s, becoming fashionable in England by the 1750s. Print room walls were adorned...
Image shows wallpaper with trompe l'oeil design of Gothic architecture. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Gothic Revival Wallpaper
A striking Gothic Revival wallpaper with a fairly large repeat, made possible by the woodblock printing. Inspired by Gothic cathedral architecture this design contains two different views: one showing a very deep perspective looking through a chamber with vaulted ceilings, into another with columns, and arched windows and doors, while the other view is a...
Goats Living the High Life
I came across an image of this print room paper and became fascinated as I took a closer look at each of the framed landscape views. Each view contains a figure and a structure. And half the figures happen to be goats, living in these beautifully styled shelters. Just to confirm these were actually houses...
Paper Dolls
In Paper Dolls, one of many trompe-l’oeil designs by William Ward Beecher, blue paper cut-outs join at the hands and feet in the form of a child’s paper chain. The figures cast shadows on the beige ground behind them, so that they appear to hover above the surface. The February 17, 1953 issue of Women’s...
Exploring a Decorative Bandbox
Bandboxes, a decorative yet practical item of an earlier time, were originally used as receptacles for holding men’s neckbands in the early 17th century. Although they continued to hold that purpose heading into the 19th century, women would soon adapt them to carry their personal items and accessories. Between the years 1820 and 1845, the...
A Hundred Windows on Your Wall
This beautiful monochromatic wallpaper is an excellent example of mid-nineteenth century stylistic eclecticism. The window, surrounded by fan vaults and Gothic tracery, is a typical Gothic Revival image. However, the bunches of flowers and swirling acanthus leaves that frame the Gothic interior are Rococo Revival motifs, pointing to the enormous  influence of French culture on...
Books and Biscuits
This trompe-l’oeil biscuit tin takes the form of a stack of books with handsome marbled pages and tooled leather bindings. The titles include some of the most ubiquitous texts in British history, from the moralistic Pilgrim’s Progress to the adventure stories of Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift. The books are a play on the name...
Decorative Deception
Traditionally, wallpapers have imitated more expensive materials, such as architectural details, painted wall decorations, wood grains, marble, and, most often, textiles. In the mid-18th century when wallpapered rooms became a prevailing fashion in England and France, wallpaper borders were as important a decorative element as the coverings themselves. A brilliant swag of printed paper flowers,...