Frieze (USA), 1905
Block-printed, glazed, embossed paper.
Gift of Mary Kate Conrad. 2012-14-2.
- Manufactured by M.H. Birge & Sons Co.
What is this?
The central motif is the Renaissance castle set high upon a hilltop, with a wide road drawn in a strong perspective, leading the viewer up into the castle. A horse-drawn wagon and guard appear on the road. The tops of the castle towers are cut off, making the castle feel more imposing. The surrounding country side is dotted with hills, trees and little cottages. Block-printed on paper embossed to resemble leather.
Why is this in our collection?
Imitation leather papers are meticulous reproductions of the grain, patterns, and coloring of antique leathers. Although this sample was produced by M. H. Birge & Sons around 1910, high-end leather papers had been popular since the late 19th century, with a renewed interest during the Colonial Revival movement of the early 20th century. Birge received many accolades for their imitation leather papers, and produced these papers in both historic and contemporary styling. They also worked in actual leather if requested by a client. Leather papers were expensive because they were a labor-intensive product. The papers were block printed, embossed, and then antiqued or glazed by hand with an oil color. The paper... more