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Wall Papers

If a paneled effect is desired for a room that is intended to be particularly dainty, .such as a boudoir, nothing would be prettier than to use a plain paper at the top and bottom of the wall, and to separate the panels. This should be delicate in tone, buff, cream or pale blue, and used in strips from fifteen to eighteen inches wide. The panels themselves should be large, not less than four or five feet across, if possible, and hung with paper in a Dresden design, one of those dainty floral patterns, such as are found on Dresden china, small scattered flowers in bright colors. The panels should be separated from the border by a half inch gilt molding.
A very artistic ceiling, recently designed by one of our leading decorators, for a New York dwelling house has a large oval center, painted in blue tones, shaded in such a manner as to give a mirror-like effect. This part of the ceiling is flat, the balance being modeled in one of those plastic relief compositions which are coming into such general use. The corner pieces are a conventional treatment of the scallop shell intertwined with rococo ornament in low relief, forming an almost lace-like pattern. Round the oval center, an egg and dart molding is used as a sort of frame. This portion of the ceiling is in shades of warm yellowish brown, the high lights being touched up with gold. The whole design appears very quiet and rich, and though not brilliantly colored, the play of light on the delicate modeling of the relief work, with just enough gold to catch the eye and emphasize the sparkling light from the electric fixtures, gives more the impression of rich coloring than if the work had been done with a full palette of brilliant pigments, which might merely have produced an overwhelmingly gaudy effect, without showing those subtle variations in hue that can be obtained in a design worked out in colors approaching a monotone.
In the dining room of quite a new house, the walls are hung with Japanese leather, a thick, heavy paper, made by hand in that wonderful island of the far East, resembling somewhat in appearance rich old Spanish stamped leather, except that the designs covering the surface are decidedly Oriental in character, birds of paradise and wonderful flowering vines in an inextricable tangle forming the pattern. This leather paper has been carried up into the plain cove cornice, terminating just as it flattens out upon the ceiling; where it is separated from the plain felt ceiling paper, of the same leather colored brown, by a half inch molding. The picture rail forms a frieze of the upper portion of the wall. All the woodwork is pine stained a light reddish brown in color, bringing into prominence the beautiful markings of its grain. The chandelier is black iron with yellow candles standing out boldly against the russet background. At one end of the room two china closets, built in the corners, with their glittering glass and porcelain, form bright spots, relieving the more or less sober, though rich appearance of the balance of the room.
The wall paper manufacturers are resorting to all sorts of expedients to produce novel and rich effects. One embossed paper which has a floral design covering the surface fairly well, has for the background fine gold lines about a sixteenth of an inch apart. In the petals of the flowers, which somewhat resemble open work embroidery, being embossed in raised lines having the appearance of corded work, very delicate embossed lines run either directly or diagonally across the gold lines, giving the impression of fine threadwork on a rich woven background. In another paper white roses in very high relief are embossed upon a pale buff ground, making a very charming design for a white and gold room.
Large figures seem to be growing in favor for wall-papers. One of those recently shown is covered with a series of panels, in which Watteau shepherds and shepherdesses are depicted watching the sportive little lamb, in the artificial manner of the days of Louis XVI. In another, on a leather-like background, large conventional flowers twine in and about shield-shaped figures of a light color. Still another has gorgeous ornaments in red, blue and gold upon a buff background.
It is rather gaudy, to be sure, but then in certain places large masses of bright colors may be used without being altogether objectionable.?E. H. Brown, in Painting and Decorating.
- Taken from Manufacturer and Builder January 1893

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