American Wall Stenciling, 1790-1840
For today’s owner of an antique house, the discovery of an early stenciled wall—even a fragment of one—is a revelation that offers a shard of a tangible past. In post-revolutionary America, the decoration of choice for a surprisingly large number of home owners from all social and economic groups was walls painted with intricate stenciled designs. Stenciled walls were cheaper and more sanitary than those covered with paper, but the most compelling reason for the widespread use of stenciling was that it was considered far more stylish than impersonal, mass-produced paper. Stencil artists freely borrowed wallpaper motifs and crossbred them. Successive generations of wallpaper, which became increasingly more affordable after the Industrial Revolution, covered stenciled walls, hiding them, obliterating some and preserving others.
Ann Eckert Brown’s extensive research has unearthed stencils not just in New England’s more characteristic homes, taverns, and inns, but also in the south and midwest. She divides stenciling into rural-based folk art, which uses naturalistic, and sometimes primitive motifs, and classically inspired, urban-based stencils, which feature patterns more refined in scale and earlier in execution, echoing Federal style images.
Over 250 illustrations complement Brown’s text as she makes fresh stylistic connections among designs, artists, regions, and houses over two centuries, discovering and illuminating some missing links in the history of wall stenciling. Even more, she ties together the shared destinies of the families, descendants, artists, rescuers, and restorers who lived with, created, or have dedicated their lives to preserving, this beautiful art form. She also provides a glossary, a discussion of early paint materials, suggested resources for wall stenciling preservation, and a Who’s Who of American wall stenciling which includes 18th, 19th, and 20th century artists and preservationists. The result, as Mimi Handler writes in her foreword, “is a book that fairly hums with life and purpose.”
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Chapter2 Wall Stenciling in Federal America
Chapter 1 The Northern New England States of Maine New Hampshire and Vermont
The State of New York and Neighboring Canada
Chapter ti The Middle States of Pennsylvania and Maryland
The Southern States of Virginia and South Carolina
The Southern New England States of Rhode Island Massachusetts and Connecticut
artisans ballroom baseboard bedchamber Boston built ceiling chair rail ciling circa classical stenciling colonial color commissions Connecticut River County Courtesy dado decorative painting distemper paint Early American Stencils eighteenth England examples executed farm farmhouse faux Federal-style first-floor floor freehand frieze front hall front parlor front stair hall Gleason graining green Hampshire Historical Society interior John Kentucky layers layout Litchfield County located Massachusetts Moses Eaton motifs Museum Narragansett Bay Niagara Peninsula Nina Fletcher nineteenth century numerous º º Ohio original stenciling ornament overmantel owners painted decoration painters panel paper Pennsylvania perhaps pigment plaster Preservation probably restoration Rhode Island Rhode Island Artist Rufus Porter second-floor chamber seen settlers similar sten stencil artist stencil designs stenciled houses stenciled rooms stenciled walls stenciling found stenciling was found Stimp style swag Tavern tion town Unknown Vermont vertical borders Virginia wall decoration wall stenciling wallpaper Wickford woodwork yellow ocher