Border (France), 1805–15
Block-printed on handmade paper. Gift of Josephine Howell. 1955-85-4-a,b.
What is this?
Gathered blue drapery with lace edging in white. Blue ribbon caught with medallions along bottom edge; was probably meant to be cut out to use as chair rail. Both motifs are ornamented with white pearls and black scroll and bead design.
Why is this important?
This border panel would have been used at the bottom of the papered wall, normally ending above the chair rail or dado panel. A similar pleated fabric and lace composition would have continued in the drapery sidewall paper used with this border as can be seen in another paper in the Museum’s collection where the drapery and border papers are still attached. The fashion for draped walls was popularized when decorators working under Napolean, Percier and Fontaine, began covering the walls with silk fabrics in the early years of the 19th century. This trend was quickly realized by wallpaper manufacturers who soon began producing a variety of drapery wallpapers.