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Title: Old Time Wall Papers - An Account of the Pictorial Papers on Our Forefathers' - Walls with a Study of the Historical Development of Wall - Paper Making and Decoration
Author: Sanborn, Kate, 1839-1917
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Old Time Wall Papers - An Account of the Pictorial Papers on Our Forefathers' - Walls with a Study of the Historical Development of Wall - Paper Making and Decoration" ***

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    | Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original     |
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  Copyright, 1905


A. S. C.




If a book has ever been written on this subject it has been impossible
to discover; and to get reliable facts for a history of the origin and
development of the art of making wall-papers has been a serious task,
although the result seems scanty and superficial. Some friends may
wonder at the lack of fascinating bits of gossip, stories of rosy
romance and somber tragedy in connection with these papers. But those
who chatted, danced, flirted, wept or plotted in the old rooms are long
since dust, and although the "very walls have ears" they have not the
gift of speech. But my collection of photographs is something entirely
unique and will increase in value every year. The numerous
photographers, to whom I have never appealed in vain, are regarded by me
as not only a skillful but a saintly class of men.

I am greatly indebted to Miss Mary M. Brooks of Salem and Miss Mary H.
Buckingham of Boston for professional assistance. Many others have most
kindly helped me by offers of photographs and interesting facts
concerning the papers and their histories. But I am especially indebted
to Mrs. Frederick C. Bursch, who has given much of her time to patient
research, to the verification or correction of doubtful statements, and
has accomplished a difficult task in arranging and describing the
photographs. Without her enthusiastic and skillful assistance, my
collection and text would have lacked method and finish.

To the many, both acquaintances and strangers, who have volunteered
assistance and have encouraged when discouragement was imminent, sending
bracing letters and new-old pictures, I can only quote with heartfelt
thanks the closing lines of the verse written by Foote, the English
actor, to be posted conspicuously to attract an audience to his

  Like a grate full of coals I'll glow
  A great full house to see;
  And if I am not grateful, too,
  A great fool I shall be.




                         I                                 Page



  PROGRESS AND IMPROVEMENT IN THE ART                        23


  EARLIEST WALL PAPERS IN AMERICA                            41


  WALL PAPERS IN HISTORIC HOMES                              61


  NOTES FROM HERE AND THERE                                  85







  Old English Figure paper--in Colors.                         Plate I

  Rural Scenes--Detail in Colors.                                   II

  French paper, Watteau Style--Detail in Colors.                   III

  Adventures of a Gallant--Reduction.                               IV

  Adventures of a Gallant--Detail in Colors.                         V

  Racing paper--Timothy Dexter House.                               VI

  The Bayeux Tapestry--Burial of Edward.                           VII

  The Bayeux Tapestry--Harold hearing News.                       VIII

  Oldest English paper--Borden Hall, "A."                           IX

  Borden Hall paper, Design "B."                                     X

  Early English Pictorial paper--Chester, Eng.                      XI

  Old Chinese paper, Cultivation of Tea--Dedham, Mass.         XII-XIV

  Early American fresco--Westwood, Mass.                      XV-XVIII

  Early Stencilled paper--Nantucket, Mass.                         XIX

  A Peep at the Moon--Nantucket, Mass.                              XX

  Hand-colored Figures, repeated--Claremont, N. H.                 XXI

  Nature Scenes, repeated--Salem, Mass.                           XXII

  The Alhambra, repeated--Leicester, Mass.                       XXIII

  Cathedral Views, repeated--Ware, Mass.                          XXIV

  Cathedral Views, repeated on architectural background--Waltham,
                                                             Mass. XXV

  Pictured Ruins, Hall and Stairway--Salem, Mass.                 XXVI

  Birds of Paradise and Peacocks--Waltham, Mass.                 XXVII

  Sacred to Washington--Mourning paper.                         XXVIII

  Dorothy Quincy Wedding paper--Quincy, Mass.                     XXIX

  The Pantheon--King's Tavern, Vernon, Conn.                       XXX

  Canterbury Bells--Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Mass.                   XXXI

  The First Railway Locomotive--Salem, Mass.                     XXXII

  Rural Scene from same room.                                   XXXIII

  Pizarro in Peru--Duxbury, Mass.                              XXXIV-V

  Tropical Scenes--Peabody, Mass.                            XXXVI-VII

  On the Bosporus--Montpelier, Vt.                          XXXVIII-IX

  Oriental Scenes--Stockport, N. Y.                           XL-XLIII

  Early Nineteenth Century Scenic paper--Deerfield, Mass.       XLIV-V

  Same Scenic paper, other examples--Warner, N. H., and Windsor, Vt.

  Harbor Scene--Waterford, Vt., Gilmanton, N. H., and Rockville,
                                                         Mass.  XLVIII

  The Spanish Fandango--same paper.                               XLIX

  Strolling Players--same paper.                                     L

  Rural Scenes--Ashland, Mass., and Marblehead.                LI, LII

  French Boulevard Scenes--Salem, Mass., and Nantucket, Mass.
                                                             LIII, LIV

  Gateway and Fountain, with Promenaders.                           LV

  Scenes from Paris--Salem, Mass., etc.                      LVI, LVII

  Bay of Naples--Hanover, N. H., etc.                       LVIII-LXII

  Cupid and Psyche--panelled paper.                        LXIII, LXIV

  The Adventures of Telemachus--Taunton, Mass., etc.            LXV-IX

  Scottish Scenes--same paper.                                     LXX

  The Olympic Games--Boston, Mass.                                LXXI

  A tribute to Homer--same paper.                                LXXII

  The shrine of Vesta--same paper.                              LXXIII

  Worship of Athene--same paper.                                 LXXIV

  Oblation to Bacchus--same paper.                                LXXV

  Oblation to Bacchus and Procession before Pantheon--Keene, N. H.

  The Lady of the Lake--Greenbush, Mass., and Portsmouth, N. H.

  The Seasons--Hanover, N. H.                                LXXXI-III


  Devil paper, Gore Mansion, Waltham, Mass. See end papers.

  Devil paper, details,                             Pages viii, 19, 61

  Mill and Boat Landing--Fairbanks House, Dedham, Mass.            vii

  Gallipoli Scenes--Knox Mansion, Thomaston, Me.           ix, 23, 103

  Adventures of Cupid--Beverly, Mass.                          xi, 116

  Fisher Maidens--Draper House, N. H.                                x

  Peasant Scene.                                                    xi

  Hunters and Dog.                                                 xiv

  The Gypsies--Stevens House, Methuen, Mass.                         1

  Bandbox (Stage-coach) and Cover--Spencer, Mass.                   20

  The Grape Harvest.                                                37

  Torches and Censers--Thomaston, Me.                               38

  Bandbox, Volunteer Fire Brigade--Norwich, Conn.                   58

  Chariot Race--Detail of Olympic Games paper.                      85

  Horse Race--Newburyport, Mass.                                   100








"How very interesting! Most attractive and quite unique! I supposed all
such old papers had gone long ago. How did you happen to think of such
an odd subject, and how ever could you find so many fine old specimens?
Do you know where the very first wall-paper was made?"

These are faint echoes of the questions suggested by my collection of
photographs of wall-papers of the past. The last inquiry, which I was
unable to answer, stimulated me to study, that I might learn something
definite as to the origin and development of the art of making such

Before this, when fancying I had found a really new theme, I was
surprised to discover that every one, from Plato and Socrates to
Emerson, Ruskin and Spencer, had carefully gleaned over the same ground,
until the amount of material became immense and unmanageable. Not so
now. I appealed in vain to several public libraries; they had nothing at
all on the subject. Poole's Index--that precious store-house of
information--was consulted, but not one magazine article on my theme
could be found. I then sent to France, England and Italy, and employed
professional lookers-up of difficult topics; but little could be
secured. The few who had studied paper hangings were very seldom
confident as to positive dates and facts.

One would seem safe in starting with China, as paper was certainly
invented there, and many of the earliest designs were of Chinese scenes;
but the honor is also claimed for Japan and Persia and Egypt. It is
difficult to decide in view of the varying testimony.

I was assured by a Japanese expert, who consulted a friend for the
facts, that neither the Chinese nor the Japanese have ever used paper to
cover their walls. At the present day, the inner walls of their houses
are plastered white, and usually have a strip of white paper running
around the bottom, about a foot and a half high.

On the other hand, Clarence Cook, in his book, _What Shall We Do With
Our Walls?_, published in 1880, says as to the origin of wall-paper: "It
may have been one of the many inventions borrowed from the East, and
might be traced, like the introduction of porcelain, to the Dutch trade
with China and Japan." And he finds that the Japanese made great use of
paper, their walls being lined with this material, and the divisions
between the rooms made largely, if not entirely, by means of screens
covered with paper or silk. Japanese wall-paper does not come in rolls
like ours, but in pieces, a little longer than broad, and of different
sizes. He adds:


     One of the cruder papers popular a hundred years ago; containing
     three groups of figures engaged in rural occupations. Beside the
     gray ground this paper contains eleven shades of color, roughly
     applied, with little attention paid to register.


"What makes it more probable that our first European notion of
wall-papers came from Japan, is the fact that the first papers made in
Holland and then introduced into England and France, were printed in
these small sizes [about three feet long by fifteen inches wide]. Nor
was it until some time in the eighteenth century that the present mode
of making long rolls was adopted. These early wall-papers were printed
from blocks, and were only one of many modifications and adaptations of
the block printing which gave us our first books and our first

"The printing of papers for covering walls is said to have been
introduced into Spain and Holland about the middle of the sixteenth
century. And I have read, somewhere, that this mode of printing the
patterns on small pieces of paper was an imitation of the Spanish
squares of stamped and painted leather with which the grandees of Spain
covered their walls, a fashion that spread all over Europe.

"We are told that wall-paper was first used in Europe as a substitute
for the tapestry so commonly employed in the middle ages, partly as a
protection against the cold and damp of the stone walls of the houses,
partly, no doubt, as an ornament."

But here is something delightfully positive from A. Blanchet's _Essai
sur L'Histoire du Papier et de sa Fabrication_, Exposition retrospective
de la Papetier, Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900.

Blanchet says that paper was invented in China by Tsai Loon, for
purposes of writing. He used fibres of bark, hemp, rags, etc. In 105 A.
D. he reported to the government on his process, which was highly
approved. He was given the honorary title of Marquis and other honors.
The first paper book was brought to Japan from Corea, then a part of
China, in 285. The conquest of Turkestan by the Arabs, through which
they learned the manufacture of paper, came in the battle fought on the
banks of the River Tharaz, in July, 751. Chinese captives brought the
art to Samarcand, from which place it spread rapidly to other parts of
the Arabian Empire. Damascus was one of the first places to receive it.
In Egypt, paper began to take the place of papyrus in the ninth century,
and papyrus ceased to be used in the tenth. The Arabian paper was made
of rags, chiefly linen, and sized with wheat starch. European paper of
the thirteenth century shows, under the microscope, fibres of flax and
hemp, with traces of cotton. About 1400, animal glue was first used for
sizing. The common belief that Arabian and early European paper was made
of cotton is a mistake. There has never been any paper made of raw
cotton, and cotton paper anywhere is exceptional. In 1145, when the
troops of Abd el Mounin were about to attack the capital of Fez, the
inhabitants covered the vault of the mihrab of the mosque with paper,
and put upon this a coating of plaster, in order to preserve from
destruction the fine carvings which are still the admiration of
visitors. The mihrab of an Arabic mosque is a vaulted niche or alcove,
in which the altar stands and towards which the worshippers look while
they pray. This is probably the earliest approach to the use of
wall-paper and shows the excellent quality of the paper.

Herbert Spencer states that "Dolls, blue-books, paper-hangings are
lineally descended from the rude sculpture paintings in which the
Egyptians represented the triumphs and worship of their god-kings." No
doubt this is true, but the beginning of paper, and probably of
wall-paper, was in China.

Paper made of cotton and other vegetable fibres by the Chinese was
obtained by the Arabs in trade, through Samarcand. When they captured
that city, in 704 A.D. they learned the process from Chinese captives
there, and soon spread it over their empire. It was known as "Charta
Damascena" in the Middle Ages, and was extensively made also in Northern
Africa. The first paper made in Europe was manufactured by the Moors in
Spain, at Valencia, Toledo, and Xativa. At the decline of Moorish power,
the Christians took it up, but their work was not so good. It was
introduced into Italy through the Arabs in Sicily; and the Laws of
Alphonso, 1263, refer to it as "cloth parchment." The earliest documents
on this thick "cotton" paper date from the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries, as a deed of King Roger of Sicily, dated 1102, shows. When
made further north, other materials, such as rags and flax, were used.
The first mention of rag paper, in a tract of Peter, Abbott of Cluny
from 1122 to 1150, probably means woolen. Linen paper was not made until
in the fourteenth century.

The Oriental papers had no water mark,--which is really a wire mark.
Water-mark paper originated in the early fourteenth century, when
paper-making became an European industry; and a considerable
international trade can be traced by means of the water marks.

The French Encyclopædia corroborates Blanchet's statement that the
common notion that the Arabic and early European papers were made of
cotton is a mistake; the microscope shows rag and flax fibres in the

Frederic Aumonier says: "From the earliest times man has longed to
conceal the baldness of mud walls, canvas tents or more substantial
dwellings, by something of a decorative character. Skins of animals, the
trophies of the chase, were probably used by our remote ancestors for
ages before wall-paintings and sculptures were thought of. The extreme
antiquity of both of these latter methods of wall decoration has
recently received abundant confirmation from the valuable work done by
the Egyptian Research Department, at Hierakonopolis, where
wall-paintings have been discovered in an ancient tomb, the date of
which has not yet been determined, but which is probably less than seven
thousand years old; and by the discovery of ancient buildings under the
scorching sand dunes of the great Sahara, far away from the present
boundary line of habitable and cultivated land. The painted decorations
on the walls of some of the rooms in these old-world dwellings have been
preserved by the dry sand, and remain almost as fresh as they were on
the day they left the hand of the artist, whose bones have long since
been resolved into their native dust."

From the Encyclopædia Britannica I condense the long article on "Mural

There is scarcely one of the numerous branches of decorative art which
has not at some time or other been applied to the ornamentation of

I. Reliefs sculptured in marble or stone; the oldest method of wall

II. Marble veneer; the application of thin marble linings to wall
surfaces, these linings often being highly variegated.

III. Wall linings of glazed bricks or tiles. In the eleventh and
twelfth centuries, the Moslems of Persia brought their art to great
perfection and used it on a large scale, chiefly for interiors. In the
most beautiful specimens, the natural growth of trees and flowers is
imitated. About 1600 A. D., this art was brought to highest perfection.

IV. Wall coverings of hard stucco, frequently enriched with relief and
further decorated with delicate paintings in gold and colors, as at the
Alhambra at Granada and the Alcazar at Seville.

V. Sgraffito; a variety of stucco work used chiefly in Italy, from the
sixteenth century down. A coat of stucco is made black by admixture of
charcoal. Over this a second very thin coat of white stucco is laid. The
drawing is made to appear in black on a white ground, by cutting away
the white skin enough to show the black undercoat.

VI. Stamped leather; magnificent and expensive, used during the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in Italy, Spain, France, and later
in England.

VII. Painted cloth. In _King Henry IV._, Falstaff says his soldiers are
"slaves, as ragged as Lazarus in the painted cloth." Canvas, painted to
imitate tapestry, was used both for ecclesiastical and domestic
hangings. English mediæval inventories contain such items as "stayned
cloth for hangings"; "paynted cloth with stories and batailes"; and
"paynted cloths of beyond-sea-work." The most important existing example
is the series of paintings of the Triumph of Julius Caesar, now in
Hampton Court. These designs were not meant to be executed in tapestry,
but were complete as wall-hangings. Godon, in _Peinture sur Toile_,
says: "The painted canvasses kept at the Hôtel Dieu at Rheims were done
in the fifteenth century, probably as models for woven tapestries. They
have great artistic merit. The subjects are religious." Painted cloths
were sometimes dyed in a manner similar to those Indian stuffs which
were afterwards printed and are now called chintzes. It is recorded
somewhere, that the weaving industry was established at Mulhouse
(Rixheim) by workers who left Rheims at a time when laws were passed
there to restrict the manufacture of painted cloths, because there was
such a rage for it that agriculture and other necessary arts were

VIII. Printed hangings and wall-papers. The printing of various textiles
with dye-colors and mordaunts is probably one of the most ancient of the
arts. Pliny describes a dyeing process employed by the ancient
Egyptians, in which the pattern was probably formed by printing from
blocks. The use of printed stuffs is of great antiquity among the Hindus
and Chinese, and was practised in Western Europe in the thirteenth
century, and perhaps earlier. The South Kensington Museum has
thirteenth-century specimens of block-printed linen made in Sicily, with
beautiful designs. Later, toward the end of the fourteenth century, a
great deal of block-printed linen was made in Flanders and was imported
largely into England.

Tapestries as wall-hangings were used in the earliest times, and, as
tiles and papers were copied from them, they must be spoken of here. One
remarkable example of tapestry from a tomb in the Crimea is supposed by
Stephani to date from the fourth century before Christ. Homer frequently
describes tapestry hangings, as when he alludes to the cloth of purple
wool with a hunting scene in gold thread, woven by Penelope for Ulysses.
Plutarch, in his Life of Themistocles, says, "Speech is like cloth of
Arras, opened and put abroad, whereby the imagery doth appear in figure;
whereas in thoughts they lie but as in packs."

The oldest tapestry now in existence is the set of pieces known as the
Bayeux Tapestry, preserved in the library at Bayeux, near Caen, in
France, and said to be the work of Matilda, Queen of William the
Conqueror. These pieces measure two hundred and thirty-one feet long and
twenty inches wide.

It is generally believed, and stated as a fact in the various
guide-books, that the Bayeux Tapestry was the work of Queen Matilda, the
consort of the Conqueror, assisted by her ladies. At that time, English
ladies were renowned for their taste and skill in embroidery. Their work
was known throughout Europe as English work. The Conquest having brought
the people of Normandy and England into close intercourse, it is pointed
out that on William's return to France, he must have taken with him many
Saxons, with their wives and daughters, in honorable attendance upon
him; and that these ladies might have helped Matilda and her companions
in making this historical piece of needlework. Many historians, however,
incline to the opinion that Matilda and her ladies had nothing to do
with the tapestry, although it was done during her lifetime.

It is amusing to note how Miss Strickland, in her _Lives of the Queens
of England_, takes up the cudgels in a very vigorous manner on behalf of
Matilda's claim:

"The archæologists and antiquaries would do well to direct their
intellectual powers to more masculine objects of enquiry, and leave the
question of the Bayeux Tapestry (with all other matters allied to
needle-craft) to the decision of the ladies, to whose province it
belongs. It is a matter of doubt whether one out of the many gentlemen
who have disputed Matilda's claim to that work, if called upon to
execute a copy of either of the figures on canvas, would know how to put
in the first stitch."

But Dr. Daniel Rock, in his exhaustive work on Tapestries, casts the
gravest doubts upon the tradition that this needlework owed its origin
to Matilda and her ladies: "Had such a piece anywise or ever belonged to
William's wife, we must think that, instead of being let stray away to
Bayeux, toward which place she bore no particular affection, she would
have bequeathed it, like other things, to her beloved church at Caen."

The author points out that there is no mention of the tapestry in the
Queen's will, while two specimens of English needlework, a chasuble and
a vestment, are left to the Church of the Trinity at Caen, the beautiful
edifice founded by her at the time when her husband founded the
companion church of St. Etienne in the same city. In fact, Dr. Rock
thinks the tapestry was made in London, to the order of three men quite
unknown to fame, whose names appear more than once on the tapestry
itself. Coming over with the Conqueror, they obtained wide possessions
in England, as appears from the Doomsday Book, and would naturally have
wished to make a joint offering to the cathedral of their native city.
In support of this view, it is shown that the long strip of needlework
exactly fits both sides of the nave of the cathedral at Bayeux, where
until recent times it has hung.

The tapestry has undergone so many vicissitudes that it is a matter for
wonder that it has been preserved in such good condition for eight
hundred years. At one time it was exhibited at the Hôtel de Ville, at
Bayeux, fixed panorama-fashion on two rollers, so that it was at the
disposal of the fingers as well as the eyes of the curious. When
Napoleon was thinking of invading this country, he had the tapestry
carried to the various towns of France and publicly exhibited, so as to
arouse popular enthusiasm on behalf of his designs.

In 1871, when the Prussians were thought to be in dangerous proximity to
Bayeux, the tapestry was taken down, enclosed in a metal cylinder, and
buried in a secret place until the close of the war. Now it is kept in
the Public Library in an upright glass case, which forms the sides of a
hollow parallelogram, the tapestry being carried first round the outside
and then round the inside space, so that every part of it is open to
inspection, while it cannot be touched or mutilated. This valuable
information is given by Mr. T. C. Hepworth.

In the Old Testament we find records of "hangings of fine twined linen"
and "hangings of white cloth, of green, of blue, fastened with cords of
fine linen and purple." Shakespeare has several allusions to tapestry:
as, "fly-bitten tapestry"; "worm-eaten tapestry"; "covered o'er with
Turkish tapestry"; "the tapestry of my dining chambers"; "it was hanged
with tapestry of silk"; "in cypress chests my arras"; "hangings all of
Tyrian tapestry."

Cardinal Wolsey's private accounts and inventories, still preserved,
state that in 1552 he bought one hundred and thirty-two large pieces of
Brussels tapestry, woven with Scriptural subjects and mostly made to
order, so as to fit exactly the various wall spaces. Among the
wall-pieces, "in addition to the numerous sacred subjects are mentioned
mythological scenes, romances, historical pieces and hangings of
verdure," the last being decorative work, in which trees and foliage
formed the main design, with accessory figures engaged in hunting,
hawking and the like.

We read in Gibbon's Rome that Charles the Sixth despatched, by way of
Hungary, Arras tapestry representing the battles of the great Alexander.
And Macaulay inquires, "Where were now the brave old hangings of Arras
which had adorned the walls of lordly mansions in the days of

According to Shakespeare, the arras was found convenient to conceal
eaves-droppers, those planning a frolic or plotting mischief; or for a
hasty lunch, as in _The Woman Hater_, by Beaumont and Fletcher:

  I have of yore made many a scrambling meal,
  In corners, behind arrases, on stairs.

Arras was used precisely the same as a curtain; it hung on tenters or
lines from the rafters or from some temporary stay, and was opened, held
up, or drawn aside, as occasion required. The writers of the day
frequently mentioned these wall-hangings. Evelyn, in his diary, 1641,
says, "We were conducted to the lodgings, tapestry'd with incomparable

Scott, in _The Lady of the Lake_, has this couplet:

  In vain on gilded roof they fall,
  And lighten up a tapestried wall.

And in _Waverley_ he speaks of "remnants of tapestried hangings, window
curtains and shreds of pictures with which he had bedizened his

After the seventeenth century, these tapestries were used for covering
furniture, as the seats and backs of sofas and arm chairs, desks and
screens; and fire-screens covered with tapestry as beautiful as a
painting were in vogue. In the _Comedy of Errors_ we recall this

           In the desk
  That's covered o'er with Turkish tapestry
  There is a purse of ducats.

Clarence Cook says: "There was a kind of tapestry made in Europe in the
fifteenth century--in Flanders, probably--in which there were
represented gentlemen and ladies, the chatelaine and her suite walking
in the park of the chateau. The figures, the size of life, seem to be
following the course of a slender stream. The park in which these noble
folk are stiffly disporting is represented by a wide expanse of meadow,
guiltless of perspective, stretching up to the top of the piece of stuff
itself, a meadow composed of leaves and flowers--bluebells, daisies, and
flowers without a name--giving the effect of a close mosaic of green,
mottled with colored spots. On the meadow are scattered various figures
of animals and birds--the lion, the unicorn, the stag, and the rabbit.
Here, too, are hawks and parrots; in the upper part is a heron, which
has been brought down by a hawk and is struggling with the victor, some
highly ornamental drops of blood on the heron's breast showing that he
is done for. And to return to the brook which winds along the bottom of
the tapestry, it is curious to note that this part of the work is more
real and directly natural in its treatment than the rest. The water is
blue, and is varied by shading and by lines that show the movement of
the stream; the plants and bushes growing along its borders are drawn
with at least a conventional look of life, some violets and fleur-de-lis
being particularly well done; and in the stream itself are sailing
several ducks, some pushing straight ahead, others nibbling the grass
along the bank, and one, at least, diving to the bottom, with tail and
feet in the air."

The best authority on tapestries in many lands is the exhaustive work by
Muntz, published in Paris, 1878-1884, by the Société anonyme de
Publication Périodique--three luxuriously bound and generously
illustrated volumes, entitled _Histoire Générale de la Tapisserie en
Italie, en Allemagne, en Angleterre, en Espagne_.

We learn here that in 1630 Le François, of Rouen, incited by the
Chinese colored papers imported by the missionaries, tried to imitate
the silk tapestries of the wealthy in a cheaper substance. He spread
powdered wool of different colors on a drawing covered with a sticky
substance on the proper parts. This _papier velouté_, called _tontisse_
by Le François, was exported to England, where it became known as "flock
paper." The English claim a previous invention by Jeremy Lanyer, who, in
1634, had used Chinese and Japanese processes. At any rate, the
manufacture of flock papers spread in England and was given up in
France. Only toward the middle of the eighteenth century was the making
of real colored papers (_papier peints_) begun in France and England.
The first factory was set up in 1746, but the work was not extended
further until 1780, when it was taken up by the brothers George and
Frederic Echardt.

Chinese picture papers were imported into France by Dutch traders and
used to decorate screens, desks, chimney-pieces, etc., as early as the
end of the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth, they
were an important ornament of elegant interiors. In the list of the
furniture given to Mlle. Desmares by Mlle. Damours, September 25, 1746,
is a fire-screen of China paper, mounted on wood, very simple. On July
25, 1755, Lazare Duvaux delivered to Mme. de Brancas, to be sent to the
Dauphiness, a sheet of China paper with very beautiful vases and
flowers, for making which he charged thirty livres. April 6, 1756, he
sold to the Countess of Valentinois, for one hundred and forty-four
livres, six sheets of China paper, painted on gauze with landscapes and

May 8, 1770, M. Marin advertised for sale in a Paris newspaper
twenty-four sheets of China paper, with figures and gilt ornaments, ten
feet high and three and one-half feet wide, at twenty-four livres a
sheet; to be sold all together, or in lots of eight sheets each. By this
time whole rooms were papered. July 15, 1779, an apartment in Paris was
advertised to let, having a pretty boudoir with China paper in small
figures representing arts and crafts, thirteen sheets, with a length of
thirty-seven feet (horizontally) and height of eight feet ten inches,
with gilt beaded moulding. Dec. 31, 1781, "For sale, at M. Nicholas's,
China wall-paper, glazed, blue ground, made for a room eighteen feet
square, with gilt moulding."

Mr. Aumonier says: "Notwithstanding the Chinese reputation for printing
from wooden blocks from time immemorial, no specimens of their work
produced by that process have ever come under the notice of the author,
in public museums or elsewhere, and it is far more probable that early
Chinese works imported into Europe were painted by hand, in imitation of
the wondrous needlework, for which, through unknown ages, the Eastern
peoples have been famous. A most perfect and beautiful example of this
work, of Japanese origin, may be seen in the "Queen's palace at the
Hague," called the _Huis-ten-Bosch_--the House-in-the-Wood. This is a
magnificent composition of foliage and flowers, birds and butterflies,
perfect in form and beauty of tint, worked in silks on a ground of
_écru_ satin. It is composed of many breadths forming one picture,
starting from the ground with rock-work, and finishing at the top of the
wall with light sprays of flowers, birds, butterflies and sky; the
colouring of the whole so judiciously harmonized as to be an object
lesson of great value to any decorator, and worth traveling many miles
to study."

I think that we may now safely say that China holds the honors in this
matter. And as most of us grow a bit weary of continuous citations from
cyclopedias, which are quoted because there is nothing less didactic to
quote, and there must be a historical basis to stand on and start from,
let us wander a little from heavy tomes and see some of the difficulties
encountered in looking up old wall-papers to be photographed.

An American artist, who has made his home in Paris for years, looked
over the photographs already collected, grew enthusiastic on the
subject, and was certain he could assist me, for, at the Retrospective
Exhibition held in that city in 1900, he remembered having seen a
complete exhibition of wall-papers and designs from the beginning. Of
course the dailies and magazines of that season would have full reports.
"Just send over to Jack Cauldwell--you know him. He is now occupying my
studio, and he will gladly look it up."

I wrote, and waited, but never received any response; heard later that
he was painting in Algiers and apparently all the hoped-for reports had
vanished with him. My famously successful searcher after the elusive and
recondite gave up this fruitless hunt in despair. Other friends in Paris
were appealed to, but could find nothing.

Then many told me, with confidence, that there must be still some
handsome old papers in the mansions of the South. And I did my best to
secure at least some bits of paper, to show what had been, but I believe
nearly all are gone "down the back entry of time."

One lady, belonging to one of the best old families of Virginia, writes
me, "My brother has asked me to write to you about wall-papers. I can
only recall one instance of very old or peculiar papering in the South,
and my young cousin, who is a senior in the Columbia School of
Architecture and very keen on 'Colonial' details, tells me that he only
knows of one. He has just been through tide-water Virginia, or rather,
up the James and Rappahannock rivers, and he says those houses are all
without paper at all, as far as he knows.

"At Charlestown, West Virginia, there is a room done in tapestry paper
in classic style, the same pattern being repeated, but this is not old,
being subsequent to 1840. The room that I have seen is wainscoted, as is
the one at Charlestown, and has above the wainscoting a tapestry paper
also in shades of brown on a white ground.

"The principal wall has a large classical design, with columns, ships
and figures, not unlike the Turner picture of Carthage, as I remember
it. This picture is not repeated, but runs into others. Whether each is
a panel, or they are merged into one another by foliage, I am unable to
recall. I know that there is a stag hunt and some sylvan scenes. It
seemed as if the paper must have been made with just such a room in
mind, as the patterns seemed to fit the spaces. As the room was the
usual corner parlor common to Southern mansions, it was probably made
for the type. I was told by a boarder in this house that the paper was
old and there were similar papers in Augusta County. I do not know
whether these are choice and rare instances, or whether they are
numerous and plentiful in other sections."

All my responses from the South have been cordial and gracious and
interesting, but depressing.

I hear, in a vague way, of papers that I really should have--in Albany
and Baltimore. We all know of the papers in the Livingston and Jumel
mansions; the former are copied for fashionable residences.

I heard of some most interesting and unusual papers in an old house in
Massachusetts, and after struggling along with what seemed almost
insurmountable hindrances, was at last permitted to secure copies. The
owner of the house died; the place was to be closed for six months; then
it was to be turned over to the church, for a parsonage, and I agonised
lest one paper might be removed at once as a scandalous presentment of
an unholy theme. I was assured that in it the Devil himself was caught
at last, by three revengeful women, who, in a genuine tug-of-war
scrimmage, had torn away all of his tail but a stub end. Finally I
gained a rather grudging permit for my photographer to copy the
papers--"if you will give positive assurance that neither house nor
walls shall be injured in the slightest degree."


     In abrupt contrast with the preceding specimen, this old French
     paper is printed with great care and shows high artistic taste. The
     eight well-composed groups of figures that form the complete design
     are after the manner of Watteau; the coloring is rich but quiet.
     Seventeen shades and colors were imposed on a brown ground, and the
     black mesh-work added over all.


As the artist is a quiet gentleman--also an absolute abstainer--so that
I could not anticipate any damage from a rough riot or a Bacchanalian
revel, I allowed him to cross the impressive threshold of the former
home of a Massachusetts governor, and the result was a brilliant
achievement, as may be seen in the end papers of this book.

Sometimes when elated by a promise that a certain paper, eagerly
desired, could be copied, I sent my man only to have the door held just
a bit open, while he heard the depressing statement that madam had
"changed her mind and didn't want the paper to be taken."

All this is just a reminder that it is not entirely easy to get at what
is sure so soon to disappear. And I mourn that I did not think years ago
of securing photographs of quaint and antique papers.

Man has been defined as "an animal who collects." There is no hobby more
delightful, and in this hunt I feel that I am doing a real service to
many who have not time to devote to the rather difficult pursuit of what
will soon be only a remembrance of primitive days.








If we go far enough back in trying to decide the origin of almost any
important discovery, we are sure to find many claimants for the honor.
It is said, on good authority, that "paper-hangings for the walls of
rooms were originally introduced in China." This may safely be accepted
as correct. The Chinese certainly discovered how to make paper, then a
better sort for wall hangings, and by Chinese prisoners it was carried
to Arabia. Travellers taking the news of the art to their homes in
various countries, it soon became a subject of general interest, and
variations and inventions in paper manufacture were numerous.

We are apt to forget how much we owe to the Chinese nation--the
mariners' compass, gun-powder, paper, printing by moveable types (a
daily paper has been published in Pekin for twelve hundred years,
printed, too, on silk). They had what we call The Golden Rule five
hundred years before Christ was born. With six times the population of
the United States, they are the only people in the world who have
maintained a government for three thousand years.

The earliest papers we hear of anywhere were imported from China, and
had Chinese or Indian patterns; coming first in small sheets, then in
rolls. Some of the more elaborate kinds were printed by hand; others
were printed from blocks. These papers, used for walls, for hangings,
and for screens, were called "pagoda papers," and were decorated with
flowers, symbolic animals and human figures.

The Dutch were among the most enterprising, importing painted hangings
from China and the East about the middle of the sixteenth century.
Perhaps these originated in Persia; the word "chintz" is of Persian
origin, and the French name for its imitations was "perses."

From the Dutch, these imported hangings were soon carried to England,
France, Germany and other Continental nations. Each nation was deadly
jealous in regard to paper-making, even resorting, in Germany in 1390,
to solemn vows of secrecy from the workman and threats of imprisonment
for betrayal of methods. Two or three centuries later, the Dutch
prohibited the exportation of moulds under no less a penalty than death.

The oldest allusion to printed wall-papers that I have found is in an
account of the trial, in 1568, of a Dutch printer, Herman Schinkel of
Delft, on the charge of printing books inimical to the Catholic faith.
The examination showed that Schinkel took ballad paper and printed roses
and stripes on the back of it, to be used as a covering for attic walls.

In the Library of the British Museum may be seen a book, printed in Low
Dutch, made of sixty specimens of paper, each of a different material.
The animal and vegetable products of which the workmen of various
countries tried to manufacture paper would make a surprising list. In
England, a paper-mill was set up probably a century before Shakespeare's
time. In the second part of _Henry the Sixth_ is a reference to a

About 1745, the Campagnie des Indes began to import these papers
directly. They were then also called "Indian" papers. August 21, 1784,
we find an advertisement: "For sale--20 sheets of India paper,
representing the cultivation of tea."

Such a paper, with this same theme, was brought to America one hundred
and fifty years ago--a hand-painted Chinese wall-paper, which has been
on a house in Dedham ever since, and is to-day in a very good state of
preservation. Of this paper I give three reproductions from different
walls of the room.

In _Le Mercure_, June, 1753, M. Prudomme advertised an assortment of
China paper of different sizes; and again, in May, 1758, that he had
received many very beautiful India papers, painted, in various sizes and
grounds, suitable for many uses, and including every kind that could be
desired. This was the same thing that was called "China" paper five
years before.

The great development of the home manufacture of wall-papers, at the
beginning of the nineteenth century, put an end to the importation from
China. The English were probably the first importers of these highly
decorative Chinese papers, and quickly imitated them by printing the
papers. These "_papiers Anglais_" soon became known on the Continent,
and the French were also at work as rivals in their manufacture and use.
Of a book published in 1847, called _The Laws of Harmonious Colouring_,
the author, one David R. Hay, was house painter and decorator to the
Queen. I find that he was employed as a decorator and paper-hanger by
Sir Walter Scott, and he says that Sir Walter directed everything
personally. Mr. Hay speaks of a certain Indian paper, of crimson color,
with a small gilded pattern upon it. "This paper Sir Walter did not
quite approve of for a dining-room, but as he got it as a present,
expressly for that purpose, and as he believed it to be rare, he would
have it put up in that room rather than hurt the feelings of the donor.
I observed to Sir Walter that there would be scarcely enough to cover
the wall; he replied in that case I might paint the recess for the
side-board in imitation of oak." Mr. Hay found afterwards that there was
quite enough paper, but Sir Walter, when he saw the paper on the recess,
heartily wished that the paper had fallen short, as he liked the recess
much better unpapered. So in the night Mr. Hay took off the paper and
painted the recess to look like paneled oak. This was in 1822.

Sir Walter, in a letter to a friend, speaks of "the most splendid
Chinese paper, twelve feet high by four wide; enough to finish the
drawing-room and two bed-rooms, the color being green, with rich Chinese
figures." Scott's own poem, _The Lady of the Lake_, has been a favorite
theme for wall-paper.

Professor W. E. D. Scott, the Curator of Ornithology at Princeton
College, in his recent book, _The Story of a Bird Lover_, alludes, in a
chapter about his childhood, to the papers on the walls of his
grandfather's home: "As a boy, the halls interested me enormously; they
have been papered with such wall-paper as I have never seen elsewhere.
The entrance hall portrayed a vista of Paris, apparently arranged along
the Seine, with ladies and gentlemen promenading the banks, and all the
notable buildings, the Pantheon, Notre Dame, and many more distributed
in the scene, the river running in front.

"But it was when I reached the second story that my childish imagination
was exercised. Here the panorama was of a different kind; it represented
scenes in India--the pursuit of deer and various kinds of smaller game,
the hunting of the lion and the tiger by the the natives, perched on
great elephants with magnificent trappings. These views are not
duplicated in the wall-paper; the scene is continuous, passing from one
end of the hall to the other, a panorama rich in color and incident. I
had thus in my mind a picture of India, I knew what kind of trees grew
there, I knew the clothes people wore and the arms they used while
hunting. To-day the same paper hangs in the halls of the old house."

There are several papers of this sort, distinctly Chinese, still on
walls in this country. A house near Portsmouth, which once belonged to
Governor Wentworth, has one room of such paper, put on about 1750. In
Boston, in a Beacon Street house, there is a room adorned with a paper
made to order in China, with a pattern of birds and flowers, in which
there is no repetition; and this is not an uncommon find. A brilliant
example of this style may be seen in Salem, Mass.

Chinese papers, which were made for lining screens and covering boxes,
were used in England and this country for wall-papers, and imitated both
there and here. One expert tells me that the early English papers were
often designed after India cottons, in large bold patterns.

The first use in France of wall-papers of French manufacture was in the
sixth century. Vachon tells about Jehan Boudichon and his fifty rolls of
paper for the King's bed-chamber in 1481, lettered and painted blue; but
it is evident from the context that they were not fastened on the walls,
but held as scrolls by figures of angels.

Colored papers were used for temporary decorations at this time, as at
the entrance of Louis XIII. into Lyons, on July 17, 1507. There is
nothing to show that the "_deux grans pans de papier paincts_,"
containing the history of the Passion, and of the destruction of
Jerusalem from the effects of the cannon of St. Peter, were permanently
applied to a wall. So with another painted paper, containing the
genealogy of the Kings of France, among the effects of Jean Nagerel,
archdeacon at Rouen in 1750. These pictured papers, hung up on the walls
as a movable decoration, form one step in the development of applied

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the commonest patterns for
unpictorial wall decoration were taken from the damasks and cut-velvets
of Sicily, Florence, Genoa, and other places in Italy. Some form of the
pine-apple or artichoke pattern was the favorite, a design developed
partly from Oriental sources and coming to perfection at the end of the
fifteenth century, copied and reproduced in textiles, printed stuffs,
and wall-papers, with but little change, down to the nineteenth century.

From the Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. XVII, I quote again:
"Wall-papers did not come into common use in Europe until the eighteenth
century, though they appear to have been used much earlier by the
Chinese. A few rare examples exist in England, which may be as early as
the eighteenth century; these are imitations, generally in flock, of the
fine old Florentine and Genoese cut-velvets, and hence the style of the
design in no way shows the date of the paper, the same traditional
patterns being reproduced for many years, with little or no change.
Machinery enabling paper to be made in long strips was not invented till
the end of the eighteenth century, and up to that time wall-paper was
painted on small squares of hand-made paper, difficult to hang,
disfigured by joints, and consequently costly; on this account
wall-papers were slow in superseding the older modes of mural
decoration, such as wood panelling, painting, tapestry, stamped leather,
and printed cloth. A little work by Jackson, of Battersea, printed in
London in 1744, gives some light on papers used at that time. He gives
reduced copies of his designs, mostly taken from Italian pictures or
antique sculpture during his residence in Venice. Instead of flowering
patterns covering the walls, his designs are all pictures--landscapes,
architectural scenes, or statues--treated as panels, with plain paper or
painting between. They are all printed in oil, with wooden blocks worked
with a rolling press, apparently an invention of his own. They are all
in the worst possible taste, and yet are offered as an improvement on
the Chinese papers then in vogue."

In 1586 there was in Paris a corporation called _dominotiers_, domino
makers, which had the exclusive right to manufacture colored papers; and
they were evidently not a new body. "Domino" was an Italian word, used
in Italy as early as the fifteenth century for marbled paper. French
gentlemen, returning from Milan and Naples, brought back boxes or
caskets lined with these papers, which were imitated in France and soon
became an important article of trade. The foreign name was kept because
of the prejudice in favor of foreign articles. But French taste
introduced a change in the character of the ornament, preferring
symmetrical designs to the hap-hazard effect of the marbling. They began
then to print with blocks various arabesques, and to fill in the
outlines with the brush.

In Furetiere's Dictionary, of the last quarter of the seventeenth
century, _dominotier_ is defined, "workman who makes marbled paper and
other papers of all colors and printed with various figures, which the
people used to call 'dominos'."

On March 15, 1787, a decree of the French King's Council of State
declared that the art of painting and printing paper to be used in
furnishings was a dependence of the governing board of the

This domino-work was for a long time principally used by country folk
and the humbler citizens of Paris to cover parts of their rooms and
shops; but near the end of the seventeenth century there was hardly a
house in Paris, however magnificent, that did not have some place
adorned with some of this domino-work, with flowers, fruits, animals and
small human figures. These pictures were often arranged in compartments.
The dominotiers made paper tapestries also, and had the right to
represent portraits, mythological scenes and Old and New Testament
stories. At first they introduced written explanations, but the letter
printers thought this an infringement of their rights; therefore it was

We are told by Aumonier that little precise information is to be found
concerning the domino papers. "Some were made from blocks of pear-tree
wood, with the parts to be printed left in relief, like type. The
designs were small pictures and in separate sheets, each subject
complete to itself. They were executed in printing-ink by means of the
ordinary printing-press. Some were afterwards finished by hand in
distemper colors; others were printed in oil, gold-sized and dusted over
with powdered colors, which gave them some resemblance to flock papers."

Much is said about flock paper, and many were the methods of preparing
it. Here is one: "Flock paper, commonly called cloth paper, is made by
printing the figures with an adhesive liquid, commonly linseed oil,
boiled, or litharge. The surface is then covered with the flock, or
woolen dust, which is produced in manufactories by the shearing of
woolen cloths, and which is dyed of the requisite colors. After being
agitated in contact with the paper, the flocks are shaken off, leaving a
coating resembling cloth upon the adhesive surface of the figures." The
manufacture of this paper was practised, both in England and France,
early in the seventeenth century. I find in the Oxford Dictionary the
following examples of the early mention of flock cloth, which was the
thing that suggested to Le François his invention of flock paper:

Act I of Richard III., C. 8, preamble: "The Sellers of such course
Clothes, being bare of Threde, usen for to powder the cast Flokkys of
fynner Cloth upon the same." Again in 1541, Act of Henry VIII., C. 18:
"Thei--shall (not) make or stoppe any maner Kerseies with flocks."

"Flock, which is one of the most valuable materials used in paper
staining, not only from its cost, but from its great usefulness in
producing rich and velvety effects, is wool cut to a fine powder. The
wool can be used in natural color or dyed to any tint. The waste from
cloth manufactures furnished the chief supply, the white uniforms of the
Austrian soldiery supplying a considerable portion."

Other substances have been tried, as ground cork, flock made from kids'
and goats' hair, the cuttings of furs and feathers, wood, sawdust, and,
lately, a very beautiful flock made of silk, which gives a magnificent
effect, but is so expensive that it can only be used for "_Tentures de

Mr. Aumonier says: "Until quite recently there were on the walls of
some of the public rooms in Hampton Court Palace several old flock
papers, which had been hung so long ago that there is now no official
record of when they were supplied. They were of fine, bold design,
giving dignity to the apartments, and it is greatly to be regretted that
some of them have been lately replaced by a comparatively insignificant
design in bronze, which already shows signs of tarnishing, and which
will eventually become of an unsightly, dirty black. All decorators who
love their art will regret the loss of these fine old papers, and will
join with the writer in the hope that the responsible authorities will
not disturb those that still remain, so long as they can be kept on the
walls; and when that is no longer possible, that they will have the
designs reproduced in fac-simile, which could be done at a comparatively
small cost.

"Mr. Crace, in his _History of Paperhangings_, says that by the
combination of flock and metal, 'very splendid hangings' are produced;
an opinion to which he gave practical expression some years afterwards
when he was engaged in decorating the new House of Parliament, using for
many of the rooms rich and sumptuous hangings of this character,
especially designed by the elder Pugin, and manufactured for Mr. Crace
from his own blocks."

In England, in the time of Queen Anne, paper staining had become an
industry of some importance, since it was taxed with others for raising
supplies "to carry on the present war"--Marlborough's campaign in the
low countries against France. Clarence Cook, whom I am so frequently
quoting because he wrote so much worth quoting, says:

"One of the pleasant features of the Queen Anne style is its freedom
from pedantry, its willingness to admit into its scheme of ornamentation
almost anything that is intrinsically pretty or graceful. We can, if we
choose, paint the papers and stuffs with which we cover our walls with
wreaths of flowers and festoons of fruits; with groups of figures from
poetry or history; with grotesques and arabesques, from Rome and
Pompeii, passed through the brains of Louis XIV's Frenchmen or of Anne's
Englishmen; with landscapes, even, pretty pastorals set in framework of
wreaths or ribbon, or more simply arranged like regular spots in rows of
alternate subjects."

It may be interesting to remember that the pretty wall-papers of the
days of Queen Anne and early Georges were designed by nobody in
particular, at a time when there were no art schools anywhere; and one
can easily see that the wall-papers, the stuff-patterns and the
furniture of that time are in harmony, showing that they came out
of the same creative mould, and were the product of a sort of

Mica, powdered glass, glittering metallic dust or sand, silver dross,
and even gold foil, were later used, and a silver-colored glimmer called
cat-silver, all to produce a brilliant effect. This art was known long
ago in China, and I am told of a Chinese paper, seen in St. Petersburg,
which had all over it a silver-colored lustre.

Block printing and stencilling naturally belong to this subject, but, as
my theme is "Old Time Wall Papers," and my book is not intended to be
technical, or a book of reference as regards their manufacture, I shall
not dwell on them.

Nor would it be wise to detail all the rival claimants for the honor of
inventing a way of making wall-paper in rolls instead of small sheets;
nor to give the names even of all the famous paper-makers. One,
immortalized by Carlyle in his _French Revolution_, must be
mentioned--Revillon, whose papers in water colors and in flock were so
perfect and so extremely beautiful that Madame de Genlis said they cost
as much as fine Gobelin tapestry. Revillon had a large factory in the
Rue du Faubourg St. Antoine, Paris, and in 1788 was employing three
hundred hands. He was urged to incite his workmen to head the Faubourg
in open rebellion, but refused to listen; and angry at his inability to
coerce this honorable man the envoy caused a false report to be spread
about, that he intended to cut his wages one-half.


     Scenes from the life of an eighteenth century gallant form this
     unusual old French paper--a gaming quarrel, a duel, an elopement
     and other edifying episodes, framed in rococo scrolls.


This roused a furious mob, and everything was ruined, and he never
recovered from the undeserved disaster.

Carlyle closes his description of the fatal riot with these words: "What
a sight! A street choked up with lumber, tumult and endless press of
men. A Paper-Warehouse eviscerated by axe and fire; mad din of revolt;
musket volleys responded to by yells, by miscellaneous missiles, by
tiles raining from roof and window, tiles, execrations and slain
men!--There is an encumbered street, four or five hundred dead men;
unfortunate Revillon has found shelter in the Bastille."

England advanced in the art of paper-making during the time the French
were planning the Revolution, and English velvet papers became the
fashion. In 1754 Mme. de Pompadour had her wardrobe and the passage that
led to her apartments hung with English paper. In 1758 she had the
bath-room of the Chateau de Champs papered with it, and others followed
her example.

But in 1765 the importation of English papers--engraved, figured,
printed, painted to imitate damasks, chintzes, tapestries, and so
on--was checked by a heavy tax. So at this time papers were a precious
and costly possession. They were sold when the owner was leaving a room,
as the following advertisements will show:

Dec. 17, 1782. "To-let; large room, with mirror over the fire-place and
paper which the owner is willing to sell."

Feb. 5, 1784. "To-let; Main body of a house, on the front, with two
apartments, one having mirrors, woodwork and papers, which will be

When the owner of the paper did not succeed in selling it, he took it
away, as it was stretched on cloth or mounted on frames. These papers
were then often offered for sale in the Parisian papers; we find
advertised in 1764, "The paperhangers for a room, painted green and
white"; November 26, 1766, "A hanging of paper lined with muslin, valued
at 12 Livres"; February 13, 1777, "For sale; by M. Hubert, a hanging of
crimson velvet paper, pasted on cloth, with gilt mouldings"; April 17,
1783, "38 yards of apple-green paper imitating damask, 24 livres, cost

By 1782, the use of wall-papers became so general that, from that time
on, the phrase "decorated with wall-paper" frequently occurs in
advertisements of luxurious apartments to let. Before this time, mention
had commonly been made, in the same manner, of the woodwork and mirrors.

October 12, 1782, the _Journal general de France_ advertised: "To let;
two houses, decorated with mirrors and papers, one with stable for five
horses, 2 carriage-houses, large garden and well, the other with three
master's apartments, stable for 12 horses, 4 carriage-houses, etc." Oct.
28, 1782, "To let; pretty apartment of five rooms, second floor front,
with mirrors, papers, etc." Feb. 24, 1783, "To let; rue Montmartre,
first floor apartment, with antechamber; drawing-room, papered in
crimson, with mouldings; and two bed-rooms, one papered to match, with
two cellars."

Mme. du Bocage, in her _Letters on England, Holland, and Italy_, (1750)
gives an account of Mrs. Montague's breakfast parties: "In the morning,
breakfasts agreeably bring together the people of the country and
strangers, in a closet lined with painted paper of Pekin, and furnished
with the choicest movables of China.

"Mrs. Montague added, to her already large house, 'the room of the
Cupidons', which was painted with roses and jasmine, intertwined with
Cupids, and the 'feather room,' which was enriched with hangings made
from the plumage of almost every bird."








Wall-papers of expensive styles and artistic variety were brought to
America as early as 1735. Before that time, and after, clay paint was
used by thrifty housewives to freshen and clean the sooty walls and
ceilings, soon blackened by the big open fires. This was prepared simply
by mixing with water the yellow-gray clay from the nearest claybank.

In Philadelphia, walls were whitewashed until about 1745, when we find
one Charles Hargrave advertising wall-paper, and a little later Peter
Fleeson manufacturing paper-hangings and papir-maché mouldings at the
corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets.

Those who could not afford to import papers painted their walls, either
in one color or stencilled in a simple pattern, or panelled, in
imitation of French papers; each panel with its own picture, large or
small. These attempts at decoration ranged with the taste and skill of
the artist, from fruit and floral designs and patterns copied from India
prints and imported china, to more elaborate and often horrible
presentments of landscapes and "waterscapes." The chimney breast, or
projecting wall forming the chimney, received especial attention.

In my own farm-house, which was built in Colonial style in 1801 (with,
as tradition says, forty pumpkin pies and two barrels of hard cider to
cheer on the assisting neighbors), one of my first tasks was to have
five or six layers of cheap papers dampened and scraped off. And, to my
surprise, we found hand-painted flowers, true to nature and still
extremely pretty, though of course scratched and faded after such heroic
treatment--fuchsias in one room, carnation pinks in another, and in the
front hall honeysuckle blossoms, so defaced that they suggested some of
the animal tracks that Mr. Thompson-Seton copies in his books. What an
amount of painstaking and skilled work all that implied! That was a
general fashion at the time the house was built, and many such
hand-paintings have been reported to me.

Mrs. Alice Morse Earle mentions one tavern parlor which she has seen
where the walls were painted with scenes from a tropical forest. On
either side of the fire-place sprang a tall palm tree. Coiled serpents,
crouching tigers, monkeys, a white elephant, and every form of
vivid-colored bird and insect crowded each other on the walls. And she
speaks of a wall-paper on the parlor of the Washington Tavern at
Westfield, Massachusetts, which gives the lively scenes of a fox chase.

Near Conway, New Hampshire, there is a cottage where a room can still
be seen that has been most elaborately adorned by a local artist. The
mountains are evenly scalloped and uniformly green, the sky evenly blue
all the way round. The trees resemble those to be found in a Noah's Ark,
and the birds on them are certainly one-fourth as large as the trees.

The painted landscapes are almost impossible to find, but I hear of one
room, the walls of which are painted with small landscapes, water
scenes, various animals, and trees. A sympathetic explorer has
discovered another in similar style at Westwood, Massachusetts, near

In the old "Johnson House," Charlestown, New Hampshire, the door remains
on the premises, with hatchet marks still visible, through which the
Indians, "horribly fixed for war," dashed in pursuit of their trembling
victims. The hinges of hoop iron and latch with stringhole beneath are
intact. A portion of its surface is still covered with the paint of the
early settlers, made of red earth mixed with skimmed milk.

A friend wrote me that her grandmother said that "before wall-paper
became generally used, many well-to-do persons had the walls of the
parlor--or keeping room as it was sometimes called--and spare room
tinted a soft Colonial yellow, with triangles, wheels or stars in dull
green and black for a frieze; and above the chair-rail a narrower
frieze, same pattern or similar, done in stencilling, often by home

"My great aunt used to tell me that when company was expected, the edge
of the floor in the 'keeping room' was first sanded, then the most
artistic one of the family spread it evenly with a birch broom, and with
sticks made these same wheels and scallops around the edge of the room,
and the never-missing pitcher of asparagus completed the adornment."

On the panels of a mantel, she remembers, an artist came from New
Boston and painted a landscape, while in the sitting-room, across the
hall, a huge vase of gayly tinted flowers was painted over the mantel.
On the mantel of another house was painted the Boston massacre. This was
in existence only a few years ago.

Later came the black and white imitation of marble for the halls and
stairs, and yellow floors with the stencil border in black. This was an
imitation of the French. In Balzac's _Pierrette_ is described a
pretentious provincial house, of which the stairway was "painted
throughout in imitation of yellow-veined black marble."

Madeleine Gale Wynne, in _The House Beautiful_, wrote most delightfully
about "Clay, Paint and other Wall Furnishings," and I quote her vivid
descriptions of the wall paintings she saw in Deerfield and Bernardston,

"These wall paintings, like the embroideries, were derived from the
India prints or the Chinese and other crockery. Whether the dweller in
this far-off New England atmosphere was conscious of it or not, he was
indebted to many ancient peoples for the way in which he intertwined his
spray, or translated his flower and bud into a decorative whole.

"Odd and amusing are many of the efforts, and they have often taken on a
certain individuality that makes a curious combination with the Eastern

"An old house in Deerfield has the remains of an interesting wall, and a
partition of another done in blue, with an oval picture painted over the
mantel-tree. The picture was of a blue ship in full sail on a blue

"The other wall was in a small entry-way, and had an abundance of
semi-conventionalized flowers done in red, black, and browns. The design
was evidently painted by hand, and evolved as the painter worked. A
border ran round each doorway, while the wall spaces were treated
separately and with individual care; the effect was pleasing, though
crude. Tulips and roses were the theme.

"This house had at one time been used as a tavern, and there is a
tradition that this was one of several public houses that were decorated
by a man who wandered through the Connecticut Valley during
Revolutionary times, paying his way by these flights of genius done in
oil. Tradition also has it that this man had a past; whether he was a
spy or a deserter from the British lines, or some other fly-from-justice
body, was a matter of speculation never determined. He disappeared as he
came, but behind him he left many walls decorated with fruit and
flowers, less perishable than himself.

"We find his handiwork not only in Deerfield, but in Bernardston. There
are rumors that there was also a wall of his painting in a tavern which
stood on the border line between Massachusetts and Vermont. In
Connecticut, too, there are houses that have traces of his work. In
Bernardston, Massachusetts, there is still to be seen a room containing
a very perfect specimen of wall painting which is attributed to him.
This work may be of later date, but no one knows its origin.

"This design is very pleasing, not only because of its antiquity and
associations, but because in its own way it is a beautiful and fitting
decoration. The color tones are full, the figures quaintly systematic
and showing much invention.

"The body of the wall is of a deep cream, divided into diamond spaces
by a stencilled design, consisting of four members in diamond shape; the
next diamond is made up of a different set of diamonds, there being four
sets in all; these are repeated symmetrically, so that a larger diamond
is produced. Strawberries, tulips, and two other flowers of less
pronounced individuality are used, and the colors are deliciously
harmonized in spite of their being in natural tints, and bright at that.
Now, this might have been very ugly--most unpleasing; on the contrary,
it is really beautiful.

"There is both dado and frieze, the latter being an elaborate festoon,
the former less good, made up of straggling palms and other ill
considered and constructed growths. One suspects the dado to be an
out-and-out steal from some chintz, while the tulips and strawberries
bear the stamp of personal intimacy.

"The culminating act of imagination and art was arrived at on the
chimney-breast decoration; there indeed do we strike the high-water mark
of the decorator; he was not hampered either by perspective or

"We surmise that Boston and its harbor is the subject; here are ships,
horses and coaches, trees and road-ways, running like garlands which
subdivide the spaces, many houses in a row, and finally a row of docile
sheep that for a century have fed in unfading serenity at their cribs in
inexplicable proximity to the base of the dwellings. All is fair in
love, war, and decoration.

"The trees are green, the houses red, the sheep white, and the water
blue; all is in good tone, and I wish that it had been on my mantel
space that this renegade painter had put his spirited effort."

A friend told me of her vivid recollection of some frescoed portraits
on the walls of the former home of a prominent Quaker in Minneapolis.
Her letter to a cousin who attends the Friends' Meeting there brought
this answer: "I had quite a talk with Uncle Junius at Meeting about his
old house. Unfortunately, the walls were ruined in a fire a few years
ago and no photograph had ever been taken of them. The portraits thee
asked about were in a bed-room. William Penn, with a roll in his hand
(the treaty, I suppose) was on one side of a window and Elizabeth Fry on
the other. These two were life size.

"Then, (tell it not in Gath!) there was a billiard room. Here Mercury,
Terpsichore and other gay creatures tripped around the frieze, and there
was also a picture of the temple in Pompeii and Minerva with her owl. In
the sitting room on one side of the bay window was a fisher-woman
mending her net, with a lot of fish about her. On the other side of the
window another woman was feeding a deer.

"On the dining-room walls a number of rabbits were playing under a big
fern and there was a whole family of prairie chickens, and ducks were
flying about the ceiling. Uncle Junius said, 'It cost me a thousand
dollars to have those things frescoed on, and they looked nice, too!' I
suppose when the Quaker preachers came to visit he locked up the
billiard room and put them in the room with William Penn and Elizabeth
Fry. He seemed rather mortified about the other and said it would not do
to go into a Quaker book, at all!"

This house was built about the middle of the nineteenth century, when
Minneapolis was a new town; but it undoubtedly shows the influence of
the old New England which was the genial Friend's boyhood home. The
scores of Quaker preachers and other visiting Friends who accepted the
overflowing hospitality of this cheerfully frescoed house seem to have
had none of the scruples of Massachusetts Friends of an earlier date. A
lady sent me a strip of hideously ugly paper in squares, the colors dark
brown and old gold. She wrote me that this paper was on the walls of the
parlor of their house in Hampton, Massachusetts. The family were
Friends; and once, when the Quarterly Meeting was held there, some of
the Friends refused to enter their house, as the paper was too gay and
worldly. And it actually had to be taken off!

After the clay paint and the hand painting came the small sheets or
squares of paper, and again I was fortunate in finding in my adopted
farm-house, in the "best room" upstairs, a snuff-brown paper of the
"wine-glass" pattern that was made before paper was imported in rolls,
and was pasted on the walls in small squares. The border looks as much
like a row of brown cats sitting down as anything else. You know the
family used to be called together to help cut out a border when a room
was to be papered; but very few of these home-made borders are now to be

I was told of a lady in Philadelphia who grew weary of an old and
sentimental pattern in her chamber, put on in small pieces and in poor
condition, and begged her husband to let her take it off. But he was
attached to the room, paper and all, and begged on his part that it
might remain. She next visited queer old stores where papers were kept,
and in one of them, in a loft, found enough of this very pattern, with
Cupids and doves and roses, to re-paper almost the entire room. And it
was decidedly difficult so to match the two sides of the face of the
little God of Love as to preserve his natural expression of roguishness
and merry consciousness of his power.

It may interest some to learn just what drew my attention to the subject
of old-time wall-papers. One, and an especially fine specimen, is
associated with my earliest memories, and will be remembered to my
latest day. For, although a native of New Hampshire, I was born at the
foot of Mount Vesuvius, and there was a merry dance to the music of
mandolin and tambourine round the tomb of Virgil on my natal morn. Some
men were fishing, others bringing in the catch; farther on was a picnic
party, sentimental youths and maidens eating comfits and dainties to the
tender notes of a flute. And old Vesuvius was smoking violently. All
this because the room in which I made my début was adorned with a
landscape or scenic paper.

Fortunately, this still remains on the walls, little altered or defaced
by the wear of years. When admiring it lately, the suggestion came to me
to have this paper photographed at once, and also that of the Seasons in
the next house; these were certainly too rare and interesting to be
lost. It is singular that the only papers of this sort I had ever seen
were in neighboring homes of two professors at Dartmouth College, and
remarkable that neither has been removed: now I find many duplicates of
these papers.

What a keen delight it was to me as a child to be allowed to go to
Professor Young's, to admire his white hair, which I called "pitty white
fedders," and to gaze at the imposing sleighing party just above the
mantel, and at the hunters or the haymakers in the fields! A good
collection is always interesting, from choice old copies of first
editions to lanterns, cow-bells, scissors, cup-plates, fans or buttons;
and I mourn that I did not think of securing photographs of quaint and
antique papers years ago, for most of them have now disappeared.

Showing the beginnings of my collection to an amateur photographer, he
was intensely interested, and said: "Why, I can get you a set as good as
these! The house has been owned by one family for eighty-five years, and
the paper was put on as long ago as that." And certainly his addition is
most interesting. The scenes in one are French. You see a little play
going on, such as we have been told in a recent magazine article they
still have in France--a street show in which a whole family often take
part. They appear as accompaniment to a fair or festival. The hole for
the stove-pipe, penetrating the foliage, has a ludicrous effect,
contrasting in abrupt fashion--the old and the new, the imposing and the

This enthusiastic friend next visited Medfield, Massachusetts, where he
heard there were several such papers, only to be told that they had just
been scraped off and the rooms modernized.

Hearing of a fine example of scenic paper in the old Perry House at
Keene, New Hampshire, I wrote immediately, lest that, too, should be
removed, and through the kindness of absolute strangers can show an
excellent representation of the Olympic games, dances, Greeks placing
wreaths upon altars, and other scenes from Grecian life, well executed.
These are grand conceptions; I hope they may never be vandalized by
chisel and paste, but be allowed to remain as long as that historic
house stands. They are beautifully preserved.


     A detail of the preceding paper. Though well designed, this is not
     a beautifully colored or very well printed paper; the color scheme
     is carried out in fourteen printings.


A brief magazine article on my new enthusiasm, illustrated with
photographs of papers I knew about, was received with surprising
interest. My mail-bag came crowded, and I was well-nigh "snowed in," as
De Quincy put it, by fascinating letters from men and women who rejoiced
in owning papers like those of my illustrations, or had heard of others
equally fine and equally venerable, and with cordial invitations to
journey here and there to visit unknown friends and study their
wall-papers, the coloring good as new after a hundred years or more. It
was in this unexpected and most agreeable way that I heard of treasures
at Windsor, Vermont; Claremont, New Hampshire; Taunton, Massachusetts,
and quaint old Nantucket, and was informed that my special paper, with
the scenes from the Bay of Naples (represented so faithfully that one
familiar with the Italian reality could easily recognize every one) was
a most popular subject with the early purchaser and was still on the
walls of a dozen or more sitting-rooms.

The Reverend Wallace Nutting, of Providence, whose fame as an artistic
photographer is widespread, sent me a picture of a parlor in St.
Johnsbury, Vermont, where he found this paper. Three women dressed in
old-fashioned style, even to the arrangement of their hair, are seated
at table, enjoying a cup of tea. An old tabby is napping cosily in a
soft-cushioned chair. And above, on the right, Vesuvius is pouring forth
the usual volumes of smoke. A fine old mahogany side-board, at the foot
of the volcano, decorated with decanters and glasses large and small,
presents an inviting picture.

The house at Hillsboro Bridge, New Hampshire, where Ex-Governor
Benjamin Pierce lived for years, and where his son, Franklin Pierce,
passed a happy boyhood, has this paper, and several similar letters show
how generally it was admired. Mrs. Lawrence, of Boston, wrote:

"I send by this mail a package of pictures, taken by my daughter, of the
Italian wall-paper on her grandfather's old home in Exeter, N. H. The
house is now owned by the Academy and used as a dormitory. The views
which I enclose have never been published. We have two or three
remarkable specimens of wall-paper made in India a hundred and fifty
years ago; the strips are hanging on the wall, nailed up."

The Italian paper proved to be my old friend Vesuvius and his bay. An
Exeter professor also wrote describing the same paper and adding
translations of the Greek inscriptions on the monuments.

Friends would often write of such a wonderful specimen at some town or
village. I would write to the address given and be told of this Bay of
Naples paper again. They were all brought over and put on at about the
same time.

One of the oldest houses in Windsor, Vermont, still has a charming
parlor paper, with landscape and water, boats, castles, ruins and
picturesque figures, which was imported and hung about 1810. This house
was built by the Honorable Edward R. Campbell, a prominent Vermonter in
his day, and here were entertained President Monroe and other notable
visitors. Later the Campbell house was occupied for some years by Salmon
P. Chase. It is now the home of the Sabin family.

A Boston antique dealer wrote me: "In an article of yours in _The House
Beautiful_, you have a photograph of the paper of the old Perry House,
Keene, N. H. We want to say that we have in our possession here at this
store, strung up temporarily, a paper with the same subject. It forms a
complete scene, there being thirty pieces in attractive old shades of
brown. We bought this from a family in Boston some little time ago, and
it is said to have been made in France for a planter in New Orleans in
or before 1800. We feel we would be excused in saying that this is the
most interesting lot of any such thing in existence. It has been handed
down from family to family, and they, apparently, have shown it, because
the bottom ends of some of the sheets are considerably worn from
handling. You understand this paper was never hung on the wall and it is
just as it was originally made." He fairly raves over the beautiful rich
browns and cream and "O! such trees!"

To my inquiry whether his price for this paper was really two thousand
dollars, as I had heard, he replied, "We would be very sorry to sell the
paper for two thousand dollars, for it is worth five thousand."

An artist who called to examine the paper is equally enthusiastic. He
writes: "I was greatly impressed by the remarkably fine execution of the
entire work. Doubtless it was printed by hand with engraved blocks. A
large per cent of the shading, especially the faces of the charming
figures, was surely done by hand, and all is the production of a
superior artist. There are several sections, each perhaps three feet
square, of such fine design, grouping, finish and execution of light and
shade, as to make them easily samples of such exquisite nicety and
comprehensive artistic work as to warrant their being framed.

"The facial expression of each of the many figures is so true that it
indicates the feelings and almost the thoughts of the person
represented; there is remarkable individuality and surprising animation.
I was forcibly struck with the inimitable perspective of the buildings
and the entire landscape with which they are associated. Practically
speaking, the buildings are of very perfect Roman architecture; there
is, however, a pleasing venture manifested, where the artist has
presented a little of the Greek work with here and there a trace of
Egyptian, and perhaps of the Byzantine. These make a pleasing
anachronism, such as Shakespeare at times introduced into his plays: a
venture defended by Dr. Samuel Johnson, as well as other distinguished
critics. The trees are done with an almost photographic truth and
exactness. After a somewhat extended and critical examination of things
of this kind in various parts of Europe, I do not hesitate to say that I
have seen nothing of the kind that excels the work you have. What is
quite remarkable about it, and more than all exhibits its truth to
nature, it seems to challenge decision whether it shows to best
advantage in strong daylight or twilight, by artificial light or that of
the sun; an effect always present in nature, but not often well produced
on paper or canvas. The successful venture to use so light a groundwork
was much like that of Rubens, where he used a white sheet in his great
painting, 'The Descent from the Cross.'"

Since the above description was written, this incomparable paper has
passed into the hands of Mrs. Franklin R. Webber, 2nd, of Boston, who
will either frame it, or in some other way preserve it as perfectly as

The remarkable paper shown in Plate XLI and the three following plates
were sent me by Miss Janet A. Lathrop of Stockport-on-Hudson, New York.
It is certainly one of the finest of the scenic papers still in
existence. The scene is oriental, the costumes seeming both Turkish and
Chinese. Temples and pagodas, a procession, a barge on the river and a
gathering in a tea-house follow in succession about the room. All are
printed by hand on rice paper, in gray tones. The paper is browned with
age, but was cleaned and restored about a year ago and is exceedingly
well preserved.

The house in which this paper is hung was built by Captain Seth Macy, a
retired sea-captain, in 1815. The paper was put on in 1820. Captain Seth
seems to have used up all his fortune in building his house, and in a
few years he was forced to sell it. The name of "Seth's Folly" still
clings to the place. In 1853 Miss Lathrop's father bought the house, and
it has ever since been occupied by his family. By a singular
coincidence, Mrs. Lathrop recognized the paper as the same as some on
the old house at Albany in which she was born. Repeated inquiries have
failed to locate any other example in America, and photographs have been
submitted without avail to both domestic and foreign experts for
identification. In the early seventies Miss Lathrop chanced to visit a
hunting-lodge belonging to the King of Saxony at Moritzburg, near
Dresden, and in the "Chinese room" she found a tapestry or paper exactly
similar, from which the paper on her own walls may have been copied.

The two papers just described would seem to be the finest examples of
continuous scenic papers still extant. I learn as this book goes to
press that Mrs. Jack Gardner, of Boston, has a remarkable old
geographical paper, in which the three old-world continents are
represented. I have been fortunate enough to secure, through the
courtesy of Mrs. Russell Jarvis, a picture of the paper in her parlor at
Claremont, New Hampshire. The Jarvis family have occupied the house
since 1797. This is not a landscape, but consists of small pastoral
scenes, placed at intervals and repeated regularly. The design is brown
on a cream ground. It has a dado and a frieze in dark blue. It is hand
made and all printed by hand, in squares of about eighteen inches,
matched carefully. Mrs. Jarvis writes: "I had no idea that the
photographer would take in so much each side of the corner, or I should
have arranged the furniture differently. The picture I did not suppose
was to appear is one of great interest and value. It is supposed to be a
Rubens, and has hung there for over a hundred years. It was bought in
1791 in Boston, of a French gentleman from San Domingo, who, on the
night of the insurrection there, escaped, saving but little else of his
vast possessions. It had evidently been hastily cut from the frame. It
represents the presentation of the head of the younger Cyrus to Tomyris,
Queen of the Scythians. The coloring is fine, the figures very
beautiful, and the satin and ermine of the Queen's dress extremely rich.
If you look closely, you will see a sword lying on the piano. This is
the one Sir William Pepperell was knighted with by King George the
Second, in 1745, because of the Battle of Louisburg, and was given my
husband's father by Sir William's grand-daughter, I believe."

You see how one photograph brings to you many valuable bits of
information apart from the paper sought.

This letter, for example, with its accompanying photograph (see Plate
XXII) leads one to the study of history, art, and literature. The
subject of the picture, aside from its supposed origin, is of interest.

The Scythians were Aryans much mixed with Mongol blood; they disappear
from history about 100 B. C. Cyrus the younger, after subduing the
eastern parts of Asia, was defeated by Tomyris, Queen of the Massagetae
in Scythia. Tomyris cut off his head and threw it into a vessel filled
with human blood, saying, as she did so, "There, drink thy fill."

Dante refers to this incident in his _Purgatory_, xii; and Sackville, in
his _Mirrour for Magistrates_, 1587, says:

                  Consyder Cyrus--
  He whose huge power no man might overthrowe,
  Tomyris Queen, with great despite hath slowe,
  His head dismembered from his mangled corpse
  Herself she cast into a vessel fraught
  With clotted blood of them that felt her force,
  And with these words a just reward she taught:
  "Drynke now thy fyll of thy desired draught."

Here seems to be the place to speak more fully of the small scenes
placed regularly at intervals. There is a great variety of pretty
medallion pictures of this sort, as, alternating figures of a
shepherdess with her crook reclining on a bank near a flock of sheep,
and a boy studying at a desk, with a teacher standing near by.

Mr. Frank B. Sanborn writes: "The oldest paper I ever saw was in the
parlor of President Weare, of Hampton Falls--a simple hunting scene,
with three compartments; a deer above, a dog below, and a hunter with
his horn below that. It was put on in 1737, when the house was built,
and, I think, is there still. Colonel Whiting's house had a more
elaborate and extensive scene--what the French called 'Montagnes
Russe'--artificial hills in a park, for sliding down, toboggan fashion,
and a score of people enjoying them or looking on."

A good authority asserts that rolls of paper did not appear in this
country until 1790, so that all these now mentioned must have been
imported in square sheets. Notice the step forward--from white walls,
through a clay wash, to hand painting, stencilling, small imported
sheets, and, at last, to rolls of paper.



     Fragment of the famous old racing paper from the Timothy Dexter
     house. This is too broken and stained to admit of the reproduction
     of its original colors--blue sky, gray clouds, green turf, brown
     horses and black, and jockeys in various colors. The scene here
     given fills the width of the paper, about eighteen inches.






Esther Singleton, in her valuable and charming book on _French and
English Furniture_, tells us that in the early Georgian period, from
1714 to 1754, the art of the Regency was on the decline, and "the
fashionable taste of the day was for Gothic, Chinese and French
decorations; and the expensive French wall-painting and silken hangings
were imitated in wall-paper and the taste even spread to America." In
1737, the famous Hancock House was being built and, until it was
demolished a few years ago (1863), it was the last of the great mansions
standing that could show what the stately homes of old Boston were like.
This house was built by Thomas Hancock, son of the Rev. John Hancock,
the kitchen of whose house is now owned by the Lexington Historical

On January 23, 1737-8, we find him writing from Boston to Mr. John
Rowe, Stationer, London, as follows: "Sir, Inclosed you have the
Dimensions of a Room for a Shaded Hanging to be done after the Same
Pattern I have sent per Captain Tanner, who will deliver it to you. It's
for my own House and Intreat the favour of you to Get it Done for me to
Come Early in the Spring, or as Soon as the nature of the Thing will

"The pattern is all was Left of a Room Lately Come over here, and it
takes much in ye Town and will be the only paper-hanging for Sale here
wh. am of opinion may Answer well. Therefore desire you by all means to
get mine well Done and as Cheap as Possible and if they can make it more
beautifull by adding more Birds flying here and there, with Some
Landskips at the Bottom, Should like it well. Let the Ground be the Same
Colour of the Pattern. At the Top and Bottom was a narrow Border of
about 2 Inches wide wh. would have to mine. About three or four years
ago my friend Francis Wilks, Esq., had a hanging Done in the Same manner
but much handsomer Sent over here from Mr. Sam Waldon of this place,
made by one Dunbar in Aldermanbury, where no doubt he, or some of his
successors may be found. In the other part of these Hangings are Great
Variety of Different Sorts of Birds, Peacocks, Macoys, Squirril, Monkys,
Fruit and Flowers etc.

"But a greater Variety in the above mentioned of Mr. Waldon's and Should
be fond of having mine done by the Same hand if to be mett with. I
design if this pleases me to have two Rooms more done for myself. I
Think they are handsomer and Better than Painted hangings Done in Oyle,
so I Beg your particular Care in procuring this for me and that the
patterns may be Taken Care of and Return'd with my goods."

John Adams writes in his Diary (1772): "Spent this evening with Mr.
Samuel Adams at his house. Adams was more cool, genteel, and agreeable
than common; concealed and retained his passions, etc. He affects to
despise riches, and not to dread poverty; but no man is more ambitious
of entertaining his friends handsomely, or of making a decent, an
elegant appearance than he.

"He has newly covered and glazed his house, and painted it very neatly,
and has new papered, painted and furnished his rooms; so that you visit
at a very genteel house and are very politely received and entertained."

Paper is the only material with which a man of but little means can
surround himself with a decorative motive and can enjoy good copies of
the expensive tapestries and various hangings which, until recently,
have been within the reach of the wealthy only. The paper-hanger was not
so much a necessity in the old days as now. The family often joined in
the task of making the paste, cutting the paper and placing it on the
walls. This was not beneath the dignity of George Washington, who, with
the assistance of Lafayette, hung on the walls at Mount Vernon paper
which he had purchased abroad.

The story goes that the good Martha lamented in the presence of
Lafayette that she should be unable to get the new paper hung in the
banquet room in time for the morrow's ball in honor of the young
Marquis. There were no men to be found for such work. Lafayette at once
pointed out to Mistress Washington that she had three able-bodied men at
her service--General Washington, Lafayette himself and his aide-de-camp.
Whereupon the company fell merrily to work, and the paper was hung in
time for the ball. Not only did the Father of our Country fight our
battles for us, but there is evidence that he gracefully descended to a
more peaceful level and gave us hints as to that valuable combination
known to the world as flour paste.

There is in existence a memorandum in Washington's hand, which reads as

"Upholsterer's directions:

"If the walls have been whitewashed over with glew water. If not--Simple
and common paste is sufficient without any other mixture but, in either
case, the Paste must be made of the finest and best flour, and free from
lumps. The Paste is to be made thick and may be thinned by putting water
to it.

"The Paste is to be put upon the paper and suffered to remain about five
minutes to soak in before it is put up, then with a cloth press it
against the wall, until all parts stick. If there be rinkles anywhere,
put a large piece of paper thereon and then rub them out with cloth as
before mentioned."

During the period when Mount Vernon was in private hands, the papers of
Washington's day were removed. There is now on the upper hall a
medallion paper which is reproduced from that which hung there at the
time of the Revolution.

Benjamin Franklin was another of our great men who interested
themselves in domestic details. In 1765 he was in London, when he
received from his wife a letter describing the way in which she had
re-decorated and furnished their home. Furniture, carpets and pictures
were mentioned, and wall coverings as well. "The little south room I
have papered, as the walls were much soiled. In this room is a carpet I
bought cheap for its goodness, and nearly new.... The Blue room has the
harmonica and the harpsichord, the gilt sconce, a card table, a set of
tea china, the worked chairs and screen--a very handsome stand for the
tea kettle to stand on, and the ornamental china. The paper of the room
has lost much of its bloom by pasting up." This blue room must have been
the subject of further correspondence. Nearly two years later Franklin
wrote to his wife:

"I suppose the room is too blue, the wood being of the same colour with
the paper, and so looks too dark. I would have you finish it as soon as
you can, thus: paint the wainscot a dead white; paper the walls blue,
and tack the gilt border round the cornice. If the paper is not equally
coloured when pasted on, let it be brushed over again with the same
colour, and let the _papier maché_ musical figures be tacked to the
middle of the ceiling. When this is done, I think it will look very

There are many old houses in New England and the Middle States which are
of historic interest, and in some of these the original paper is still
on the walls and in good preservation, as in the Dorothy Quincy house at
Quincy, Massachusetts. The Dorothy Quincy house is now owned by the
Colonial Dames of Massachusetts, who have filled it with beautiful
colonial furniture and other relics of Dorothy Q's day. The papers on
all the walls are old, but none so early as that on the large north
parlor (Plate XXIX), which was imported from Paris to adorn the room in
which Dorothy Quincy and John Hancock were to have been married in 1775.
Figures of Venus and Cupid made the paper appropriate to the occasion.

"But the fortunes of war," says Katharine M. Abbott in her _Old Paths
and Legends of New England_, "upset the best of plans, and her wedding
came about very quietly at the Thaddeus Burr house in Fairfield. Owing
to the prescription on Hancock's head, they were forced to spend their
honeymoon in hiding, as the red-coats had marked for capture this
elegant, cocked-hat 'rebel' diplomatist of the blue and bluff. Dorothy
Quincy Hancock, the niece of Holmes's 'Dorothy Q.,' is a fascinating
figure in history. Lafayette paid her a visit of ceremony and pleasure
at the Hancock house on his triumphal tour, and no doubt the once
youthful chevalier and reigning belle flung many a quip and sally over
the teacups of their eventful past."

The Hancock-Clarke house, in Lexington, Massachusetts, is a treasure
house of important relics, besides files of pamphlets, manuscripts and
printed documents, portraits, photographs, furniture, lanterns,
canteens, pine-tree paper currency, autographs, fancy-work--in fact
almost everything that could be dug up. There is also a piece of the
original paper on the room occupied by Hancock and Adams on April 18,
1775. But the bit of paper and the reproduction are copyrighted, and
there is no more left of it. It is a design of pomegranate leaves, buds,
flowers and fruits--nothing remarkable or attractive about it. I have a
small photograph of it, which must be studied through a glass.

In the sitting-room the paper is a series of arches, evidently Roman, a
foot wide and three feet high. The pillars supporting the arches are
decorated with trophies--shields, with javelins, battle-axes and
trumpets massed behind. The design is a mechanical arrangement of urn
and pedestal; there are two figures leaning against the marble, and two
reclining on the slab above the urn. One of these holds a trumpet, and
all the persons are wearing togas. The groundwork of color in each panel
is Roman red; all the rest is a study in black and white lines. Garlands
droop at regular intervals across the panels.

The paper in the Lafayette room at the Wayside Inn, South Sudbury,
Massachusetts, is precious only from association. The inn was built
about 1683, and was first opened by David Howe, who kept it until 1746.
It was then kept by his three sons in succession, one son, Lyman Howe,
being the landlord when Longfellow visited there and told the tale of
Paul Revere's ride. It was renovated under the management of Colonel
Ezekiel Howe, 1746-1796, and during that time the paper was put on the
Lafayette room.

Several important personages are known to have occupied this room, among
them General Lafayette, Judge Sewall, Luigi Monti, Doctor Parsons,
General Artemus Ward. The house was first known as Howe's in Sudbury, or
Horse Tavern, then as the Red Horse Tavern; and in 1860 was immortalized
by Longfellow as The Wayside Inn.

"The landlord of Longfellow's famous Tales was the dignified Squire
Lyman Howe, a justice of the peace and school committee-man, who lived a
bachelor, and died at the inn in 1860--the last of his line to keep the
famous hostelry. Besides Squire Howe, the only other real characters in
the Tales who were ever actually at the inn were Thomas W. Parsons, the
poet; Luigi Monti, the Sicilian, and Professor Daniel Treadwell, of
Harvard, the theologian, all three of whom were in the habit of spending
the summer months there. Of the other characters, the musician was Ole
Bull, the student was Henry Ware Wales, and the Spanish Jew was Israel
Edrehi. Near the room in which Longfellow stayed is the ball-room with
the dais at one end for the fiddlers. But the polished floor no longer
feels the pressure of dainty feet in high-heeled slippers gliding over
it to the strains of contra-dance, cotillion, or minuet, although the
merry voices of summer visitors and jingling bells of winter sleighing
parties at times still break the quiet of the ancient inn."

Judge Sewall, in his famous diary, notes that he spent the night at
Howe's in Sudbury--there being also a Howe's Tavern in Marlboro.
Lafayette, in 1824, spent the night there and, as Washington passed over
this road when he took command of the army at Cambridge, it is more than
likely that he also stopped there, as Colonel Howe's importance in this
neighborhood would almost demand it. Washington passed over this road
again when on his tour of New England, and then Colonel Howe was the
landlord and squire, as well as colonel of a regiment.

Burgoyne stopped there, a captive, on his way from Ticonderoga to
Boston; and, as this was the most popular stage route to New York city,
Springfield and Albany, those famous men of New England--Otis, Adams,
Hancock, and many others--were frequent guests. A company of horse
patrolled the road, and tripped into the old bar for their rum and
home-brewed ale. It is worth recording that Agassiz, in his visits to
the house, examined the ancient oaks near the inn, and pronounced one of
them over a thousand years old. Edna Dean Proctor refers to them in her

  Oaks that the Indian's bow and wigwam knew,
  And by whose branches still the sky is barred.

I have a photograph of the famous King's Tavern, where Lafayette was
entertained, and a small piece of the paper of the dining-room. This
tavern was at Vernon, Connecticut, (now known as Rockville,) on the
great Mail Stage route from New York to Boston. It was noted for its
waffles, served night and morning, and the travellers sometimes called
it "Waffle Tavern." It was erected by Lemuel King, in 1820. Now it is
used as the Rockville town farm. The noted French wall-paper on the
dining-room, where Lafayette was entertained, represented mythological
scenes. There was Atlas, King of the remote West and master of the trees
that bore the golden apples; and Prometheus, chained to the rock, with
the water about him. The paper was imported in small squares, which had
to be most carefully pasted together.

This treasured paper, with its rather solemn colors of grey and black,
and its amazing number of mythological characters, was stripped from the
walls and consumed in a bonfire by an unappreciative and ignorant person
who had control of the place. A lady rescued a few pieces and pasted
them on a board. She has generously sent me a photograph of one of the
panels. She writes me pathetically of the woodsy scenes, water views,
mountains, cascades, and castles, with classic figures artistically
arranged among them. There seems to have been a greater variety than is
usual, from a spirited horse, standing on his hind legs on a cliff, to a
charming nymph seated on a rock and playing on a lyre. Below all these
scenes there was a dado of black and grey, with scrolls and names of the
beings depicted--such names as Atlas, Atlantis, Ariadne, Arethusa,
Adonis, Apollo, Andromache, Bacchus, Cassandra, Cadmus, Diana, Endymion,
Juno, Jupiter, Iris, Laocoön, Medusa, Minerva, Neptune, Pandora,
Penelope, Romulus, Sirius, Thalia, Theseus, Venus, Vulcan, and many
others were "among those present." Below these names came a dado of
grassy green, with marine views at intervals.

Whether Lafayette noticed and appreciated all this, history telleth not.
After his sumptuous repast a new coach was provided to convey him from
King's Tavern to Hartford, and it was drawn by four white horses.

On a boulder in Lafayette Park, near by, is this inscription:

"In grateful memory of General Lafayette, whose love of liberty brought
him to our shores, to dedicate his life and fortune to the cause of the

"The Sabra Trumbull Chapter, D. A. R., erected this monument near the
Old King's Tavern, where he was entertained in 1824."

The General Knox mansion, called "Montpelier," at Thomaston, Maine, is
full of interest to all who care for old-time luxury as seen in the
homes of the wealthy. General Knox was Washington's first Secretary of
War. Samples of paper have been sent me from there. One had a background
of sky-blue, on which were wreaths, with torches, censers with flames
above, and two loving birds, one on the nest and the mate proudly
guarding her--all in light brown and gray, with some sparkling mineral
or tiniest particles of glass apparently sprinkled over, which produced
a fascinating glitter, and a raised, applique effect I have never
observed before. This was on the dining-room of the mansion. In the
"gold room" was a yellow paper--as yellow as buttercups.

Still another, more unusual, was a representation of a sea-port town,
Gallipoli, of European Turkey; armed men are marching; you see the water
and picturesque harbor, and Turkish soldiers in boats. The red of the
uniforms brightens the pictures; the background is gray, and the views
are enclosed in harmonious browns, suggesting trees and rocks. This
paper came in small pieces, before rolls were made. Think of the labor
of matching all those figures! "Gallipoli" is printed at the bottom.

I am assured by a truthful woman from Maine that the halls of this house
were adorned with yellow paper with hunting scenes "life-size," and I
don't dare doubt or even discuss this, for what a woman from that state
_knows_ is not to be questioned. It can't be childish imagination.
Moreover, I have corroborative evidence from another veracious woman in
the South, who, in her childhood, saw human figures of "life size" on a
paper long since removed.

I freely confess that I had never heard of this distinguished General
Knox and his palatial residence; but a composition from a little girl
was shown me, which gives a good idea of the house:


"In the year 1793, General Knox sent a party of workmen from Boston to
build a summer residence on the bank of the Georges River. The mansion
was much like a French chateau, and was often so called by visitors.

"The front entrance faced the river. The first story was of brick, and
contained the servants' hall, etc. The second floor had nine rooms, the
principal of which was the oval room, into which the main entrance
opened. There were two large windows on either side of the door, and on
opposite sides were two immense fire-places. This room was used as a
picture gallery, and contained many ancient portraits. It had also a
remarkable clock. It was high, and the case was of solid mahogany. The
top rose in three points and each point had a brass ball on the top. The
face, instead of the usual Roman numbers, had the Arabic 1, 2, 3, etc.
There were two small dials. On each side of the case were little
windows, showing the machinery. Between the two windows on one side of
the room was a magnificent mahogany book-case, elaborately trimmed with
solid silver, which had belonged to Louis XIV. and was twelve feet long.

"The mansion measured ninety feet across, and had on either side of the
oval room two large drawing-rooms, each thirty feet long. There were
twenty-eight fire-places in the house. Back of the western drawing-room
was a library. This was furnished with beautiful books of every
description, a large number being French. On the other side was a large
china closet. One set of china was presented to General Knox by the
Cincinnati Society. The ceiling was so high that it was necessary to use
a step-ladder to reach the china from the higher shelves. Back of the
oval room was a passage with a flight of stairs on each side, which met
at the top. Above, the oval room was divided into two dressing-rooms.
The bedsteads were all solid mahogany, with silk and damask hangings.
One room was called the 'gold room,' and everything in it, even the
counterpane, was of gold color. The doors were mahogany, and had large
brass knobs and brass pieces extending nearly to the centre. The carpets
were all woven whole.

"The house outside was painted white, with green blinds, though every
room was furnished with shutters inside. A little in the rear of the
mansion extended a number of out-buildings, in the form of a crescent,
beginning with the stable on one side, and ending with the cook house on
the other. General Knox kept twenty saddle horses and a number of pairs
of carriage horses. Once there was a gateway, surmounted by the American
Eagle, leading into what is now Knox Street. 'Montpelier,' as it was
called, had many distinguished visitors every summer."

I noticed in a recent paper the report of an old-time game supper,
participated in by ninety prominent sportsmen at Thomaston, Maine,
following the custom inaugurated by General Knox for the entertainment
of French guests.

It was through hearing of the Knox house that I learned of a "death
room." There was one over the eastern dining-room. These depressing
rooms had but one window, and the paper was dark and gloomy--white, with
black figures, and a deep mourning frieze. Benches were ranged stiffly
around the sides, and there were drawers filled with the necessities for
preparing a body for burial. Linen and a bottle of "camphire" were never
forgotten. There the dead lay till the funeral. I can shiver over the
intense gruesomeness of it. How Poe or Hawthorne could have let his
inspired imagination work up the possibilities of such a room! A
skeleton at the feast is a slight deterrent from undue gaiety, compared
with this ever-ready, sunless apartment.

This reminds me that I read the other day of a "deadly-lively" old
lady, who, having taken a flat in the suburban depths of Hammersmith,
England, stipulated before signing her lease that the landlord should
put black wall-paper on the walls of every room except the kitchen.
Possibly she had a secret sorrow which she wished to express in this
melodramatic fashion. But why except the culinary department? We have
been hearing a good deal lately about the effect of color on the nerves
and temperament generally. A grim, undertaker-like tone of this kind
would no doubt induce a desired melancholy, and if extended to the
region of the kitchen range, might have furthered the general effect by
ruining the digestion.

A writer in a recent number of the _Decorator's and Painter's Magazine_,
London, says: "An interview has just taken place with a 'a well-known
wall-paper manufacturer,' who, in the course of his remarks, informed
the representative of the _Morning Comet_ that black wall-papers were
now all the rage. 'You would be surprised,' he said, 'how little these
papers really detract from the lightness of a room, the glossiness of
their surface compensating almost for the darkness of their shade;' and
upon this score there would seem to be no reason why a good pitch paper
should not serve as an artistic decorative covering for the walls of a
drawing-room or a 'dainty' boudoir.

"It has been generally accepted that highly-glazed surfaces render
wall-papers objectionable to the eye, and that they are therefore only
fit for hanging in sculleries, bath-rooms and the like, where sanitary
reasons outweigh decorative advantages. Very probably the gentleman who
recommends black papers for walls would also recommend their use for
ceilings, so that all might be _en suite_, and the effect would
undoubtedly be added to, were the paintwork also of a deep, lustrous
black, whilst--it may be stretching a point, but there is nothing like
being consistent and thorough--the windows might at the same time be
'hung' in harmony with walls and ceilings. Coffin trestles with elm
boards would make an excellent table, and what better cabinets for
bric-a-brac (miniature skeletons, petrified death's-head moths, model
tombstones and railed vaults, and so on) than shelved coffins set on
end? Plumes might adorn the mantel-shelf, and weeds and weepers
festooned around skulls and crossbones would sufficiently ornament the
walls without the aid of pictures, whilst the fragments from some
dis-used charnel-house might be deposited in heaps in the corners of the

The old governors often indulged in expensive and unusual wall-papers.
The Governor Gore house at Waltham, Massachusetts, had three, all of
which I had photographed. The Gore house, until recently the home of
Miss Walker, is one of the most beautiful in Massachusetts, and was an
inheritance from her uncle, who came into possession of the property in
1856. Before Miss Walker's death, she suggested that the estate be given
to the Episcopal Church in Waltham for a cathedral or a residence for
the bishop.

The place is known as the Governor Gore estate, and is named for
Christopher Gore, who was governor of Massachusetts in 1799. It covers
nearly one hundred and fifty acres of gardens, woodlands and fields. The
present mansion was erected in 1802 and replaces the one destroyed by

The mansion is a distinct pattern of the English country house, such as
was built by Sir Christopher Wren, the great eighteenth century
architect. It is of brick construction. In the interior many of the
original features have been retained, such as the remarkable "Bird of
Paradise" paper in the drawing-room. All the apartments are very high
ceiled, spacious and richly furnished. Some of Governor Gore's old
pieces of furniture, silver and china are still in use.

The Badger homestead, in Old Gilmanton, was the home of Colonel William
Badger, Governor of New Hampshire in 1834 and 1835, and descended from a
long line of soldierly, patriotic and popular men. Fred Myron Colby
sketched the home of the Badgers in the _Granite Monthly_ for December,

"Gov. Badger was a tall, stately man, strong, six feet in height, and
at some periods of his life weighed nearly three hundred pounds. He was
active and stirring his whole life. Though a man of few words, he was
remarkably genial. He had a strong will, but his large good sense
prevented him from being obstinate. He was generous and hospitable, a
friend to the poor, a kind neighbor, and a high-souled, honorable
Christian gentleman. The grand old mansion that he built and lived in
has been a goodly residence in its day. Despite its somewhat faded
majesty, there is an air of dignity about the ancestral abode that is
not without its influence upon the visitor. It is a house that accords
well with the style of its former lords; you see that it is worthy of
the Badgers. The grounds about its solitary stateliness are like those
of the 'old English gentlemen.' The mansion stands well in from the
road; an avenue fourteen rods long and excellently shaded leads to the
entrance gate. There is an extensive lawn in front of the house, and a
row of ancient elms rise to guard, as it were, the tall building with
its hospitable portal in the middle, its large windows, and old,
moss-covered roof. The house faces the southwest, is two and a half
stories high, and forty-four by thirty-six feet on the ground.

"As the door swings open we enter the hall, which is ten by sixteen
feet. On the left is the governor's sitting-room, which occupied the
southeast corner of the house, showing that Gov. Badger did not, like
Hamlet, dread to be too much 'i' the sun.' It is not a large room, only
twenty by sixteen feet, yet it looks stately. In this room the governor
passed many hours reading and entertaining his guests. In it is the
antique rocking-chair that was used by the governor on all occasions. A
large fire-place, with brass andirons and fender, is on one side, big
enough to take in half a cord of wood at a time. Near by it stood a
frame on which were heaped sticks of wood, awaiting, I suppose, the
first chilly evening. It must be a splendid sight to see those logs
blazing, and the firelight dancing on the old pictures and the mirror
and the weapons on the walls.

"The most noticeable thing in the room is the paper upon the walls. It
was bought by the governor purposely for this room, and cost one hundred
dollars in gold. It is very thick, almost like strawboard, and is
fancifully illustrated with all sorts of pictures--landscapes, marine
views, court scenes, and other pageants. It will afford one infinite
amusement to study the various figures. On one side is a nautical scene.
An old-fashioned galleon, such a one as Kidd the pirate would have liked
to run afoul of, is being unloaded by a group of negroes. Swarthy
mariners, clad in the Spanish costume of the seventeenth century,--long,
sausage-shaped hose, with breeches pinned up like pudding bags and
fringed at the bottom, boots with wide, voluminous tops, buff coats with
sleeves slashed in front, and broad-brimmed Flemish beaver hats, with
rich hat-bands and plumes of feathers--are watching the unlading, and an
old Turk stands near by, complaisant and serene, smoking his pipe. On
the opposite wall there is a grand old castle, with towers and spires
and battlements. In the foreground is a fountain, and a group of
gallants and ladies are promenading the lawn. One lady, lovely and
coquettish, leans on the arm of a cavalier, and is seemingly engrossed
by his conversation, and yet she slyly holds forth behind her a folded
letter in her fair white hand which is being eagerly grasped by another
gallant--like a scene from the _Decameron_. In the corner a comely
maiden in a trim bodice, succinct petticoat and plaided hose, stands
below a tall tree, and a young lad among the branches is letting fall a
nest of young birds into her extended apron. The expression on the boy's
face in the tree and the spirited protest of the mother bird are very
graphically portrayed.

"The loveliest scene of all is that of a bay sweeping far into the land;
boats and ships are upon the tide; on the shore, rising from the very
water's edge, is a fairy-like, palatial structure, with machicolated
battlements, that reminds one of the enchanted castle of Armida. Under
the castle walls is assembled a gay company. A cavalier, after the
Vandyke style, is playing with might and main upon a guitar, and a
graceful, full-bosomed, lithe-limbed Dulcinea is dancing to the music in
company with a gaily dressed gallant. It is the Spanish fandango.
Another scene is a charming land and water view with no prominent
figures in it.

"Upon the mantel are several curiosities, notably a fragment of the
rock on which Rev. Samuel Hidden was ordained at Tamworth, September 12,
1792, several silhouettes of the various members of the Badger family,
and the silver candlesticks, tray and snuffers used by Mrs. Governor
Badger. Suspended above, upon the wall, are a pair of horse pistols, a
dress sword and a pair of spurs. These were the Governor's, which were
used by him in the war of 1812, and also when he was sheriff of the
county. The sword has quite a romantic history. It was formerly General
Joseph Badger's, who obtained it in the following manner: When a
lieutenant in the army, near Crown Point and Lake Champlain, just after
the retreat from Canada, in 1777, Badger undertook, at the desire of
General Gates, to obtain a British prisoner. With three picked men he
started for the British camp at St. John's. Arriving in the
neighborhood, he found a large number of the officers enjoying
themselves at a ball given by the villagers. One of the Britons, in full
ball dress, they were fortunate enough to secure, and took him to their
boat. Badger then changed clothes with the officer, returned to the
ball, danced with the ladies, hobnobbed with the officers, and gained
much valuable information as to the movements of the British army.
Before morning light he returned in safety with his prisoner to Crown
Point, where he received the commendations of the commanding general for
his bravery. The officer's sword he always kept, and is the same weapon
that now hangs on the wall."

Mrs. Joseph Badger, whose husband was the oldest son of Governor
William Badger (both, alas! now dead), wrote most kindly to me about the
wall-paper, and sent me a picture of it. And she said: "The homestead
was built in 1825 by Ex-Gov. William Badger, and the paper you inquire
about was hung that year. He was at Portsmouth, N. H., attending court,
and seeing this paper in a store, liked it very much, and ordered enough
to paper the sitting-room, costing fifty dollars. He did not have enough
money with him to pay for it, but they allowed him to take it home, and
he sent the money back by the stage driver, who laid it down on the seat
where he drove, and the wind blew it away, never to be found, so he had
to pay fifty dollars more; at least, so says tradition. The paper is
quite a dark brown, and is in a good state of preservation and looks as
though it might last one hundred years longer."

In a valuable book, entitled _Some Colonial Mansions and Those Who Lived
in Them_, edited by Thomas Allen Glennand, and published in 1898, is a
picture of the wall-paper at the Manor House, on page 157 of Volume I,
in the chapter which relates to the Patroonship of the Van Rensselaers
and the magnificent mansion. This was built in 1765, commenced and
finished (except the modern wings) by Stephen Van Rensselaer, whose wife
was the daughter of Philip Livingston, a signer of the Declaration of

"Seldom has a house a more splendid history, or romantic origin, than
this relic of feudal splendor and colonial hospitality. The house is
approached from the lodge-gate through an avenue shaded by rows of
ancient trees. The entrance hall is thirty-three feet wide, and is
decorated with the identical paper brought from Holland at the time the
house was built, having the appearance of old fresco-painting."

The picture which follows this description is too small to be
satisfactorily studied without a magnifying glass, but the paper must be
impressive as a whole. Imposing pillars on the left, perhaps all that
remains of a grand castle; in front of them large blocks of stone with
sculptured men and horses; at the right of these a pensive, elegant
creature of the sterner sex gazing at a mammoth lion couchant on a
square pedestal. Beyond the lion, a picturesque pagoda on a high rock,
and five more human figures, evidently put in to add to the interest of
the foreground. This square is surrounded with a pretty wreath, bedecked
with flowers, birds and shells.

On either side of the hall were apartments some thirty feet wide; the
great drawing-rooms, the state bed-room and the spacious library, in
which the bookcases of highly polished wood occupied at least seventy
feet of wall-space. All of the ceilings are lofty, and fine old wood
carvings abounded on every side. Mr. William Bayard Van Rensselaer of
Albany still possesses the handsome paper taken from one of these rooms,
with four large scenes representing the seasons. The house was
demolished only a few years ago.

I notice that almost all these mansions had walls of wood, either plain
or paneled in broad or narrow panels, and simply painted with oil-paint
of pure white or a cream yellow; and a Southern gentleman, whose
ancestors lived in one of these historic homes, tells me that the
Southern matrons were great housekeepers, and these white wood walls
were thoroughly scrubbed at least three times yearly, from top to

In Part II of the history of the Carters of Virginia, we read that the
duties of Robert Carter as councillor brought him to Williamsburg for a
part of the year, and in 1761 he moved, with his family, from "Nomini
Hall" to the little Virginia capital, where he lived for eleven years.
We know, from the invoices sent to London, how the Councillor's home in
the city was furnished. The first parlor was bright with crimson-colored
paper; the second had hangings ornamented by large green leaves on a
white ground; and the third, the best parlor, was decorated with a finer
grade of paper, the ground blue, with large yellow flowers. A mirror was
to be four feet by six and a half, "the glass to be in many pieces,
agreeable to the present fashion," and there were marble hearth-slabs,
wrought-brass sconces and glass globes for candles, Wilton carpets and
other luxuries. The mantels and wainscoting were especially fine.

The paper on the hall of Martin Van Buren's home at Kinderhook, New
York, is said to have been interesting; but the present owners have
destroyed it, being much annoyed by sightseers.

In the reception room of the Manor House of Charles Carroll, of
Carrollton, Maryland, and in the state chamber, where Washington slept
(a frequent and welcome guest at Doughoregan Manor) were papers, both
with small floral patterns.

In New York and Albany paper-hanging was an important business by 1750
and the walls of the better houses were papered before the middle of the
century. But in the average house the walls were not papered in 1748. A
Swedish visitor says of the New York houses at that time, "The walls
were whitewashed within, and I did not anywhere see hangings, with which
the people in this country seem in general to be little acquainted. The
walls were quite covered with all sorts of drawings and pictures in
small frames."






The wall-papers of a century ago did have distinct ideas and earnest
meaning; a decided theme, perhaps taken from mythology, as the story of
Cupid and Psyche, on one of the most artistic of the early panelled
papers, to print which we read that fifteen hundred blocks were used.
There were twelve panels, each one showing a scene from the experiences
of the "Soul Maiden."

You remember that Venus, in a fit of jealousy, ordered Cupid to inspire
Psyche with a love for the most contemptible of all men, but Cupid was
so stricken with her beauty that he himself fell in love with her. He
accordingly conveyed her to a charming spot and gave her a beautiful
palace where, unseen and unknown, he visited her every night, leaving
her as soon as the day began to dawn. Curiosity destroyed her happiness,
for her envious sisters made her believe that in the darkness of night
she was embracing some hideous monster. So once, when Cupid was asleep,
she drew near to him with a lamp and, to her amazement, beheld the most
handsome of the gods. In her excitement of joy and fear, a drop of hot
oil fell from her lamp upon his shoulder. This awoke Cupid, who censured
her for her distrust and escaped. Then came long tribulations and abuse
from Venus, until at last she became immortal, and was united to her
lover forever. As you know, Psyche represents the human soul, purified
by passions and misfortunes and thus prepared for the enjoyment of true
and pure happiness.

From this accident, Ella Fuller Maitland has drawn for us--


  "How I hate lamps," Bethia frowning cried,
  (Our poverty electric light denied.)
  And when to ask her reason I went on,
  Promptly she answered thus my question:
  "By lamplight was it that poor Psyche gazed
  Upon her lover, and with joy amazed
  Dropped from the horrid thing a little oil--
  Costing herself, so, years of pain and toil:
  Had she electric light within her room,
  She might have seen Love, yet escaped her doom."

Another mythologic story is grandly depicted in a paper in the
residence of Dr. John Lovett Morse, at Taunton, Mass. (Plates LXV to
LXX.) This paper was described to me as illustrating the fifth book of
Virgil's _Æneid_. When the handsome photographs came, we tried to verify
them. But a reading of the entire _Æneid_ failed to identify any of
them, except that the one shown in Plate LXIX might be intended to
represent the Trojan women burning the ships of Æneas. Who were the two
personages leaping from the cliff? Virgil did not mention them.

A paper in _Country Life in America_ for April, 1905, describing the
"Hermitage," Andrew Jackson's home near Nashville, Tennessee, spoke of
the "unique" paper on the lower hall, depicting the adventures of
Ulysses on the Island of Calypso. The illustration showed the same
scenes that we had been hunting for in Virgil. The caption stated that
it "was imported from Paris by Jackson. It pictures the story of Ulysses
at the Island of Calypso. There are four scenes, and in the last
Calypso's maidens burn the boat of Ulysses."

So we turned to the _Odyssey_. There again we were disappointed. Nobody
jumps off cliffs in the _Odyssey_, Ulysses' boat is not burned, neither
does Cupid, who appeared in every photograph, figure in the scenes
between Ulysses and Calypso.

Next we took to the mythologies; and in one we found a reference to
Fenelon's _Adventures of Telemachus_, which sends Telemachus and Mentor
to Calypso's island in search of Ulysses, and describes their escape
from the goddess's isles and wiles by leaping into the sea and swimming
to a vessel anchored near. Here at last were our two cliff jumpers! And
in long-forgotten _Telemachus_ was found every scene depicted on the

It is a strange commentary on the intellectual indolence of the average
human mind, that these two remarkable sets of paper should so completely
have lost their identity, and that the misnomers given them by some
forgetful inhabitant should in each case have been accepted without
question by those who came after him. Other owners of this paper have
known what the scenes really were; for I have had "Telemachus paper"
reported, from Kennebunk, Maine, and from the home of Mr. Henry DeWitt
Freeland at Sutton, Massachusetts. The paper is evidently of French
origin, and is mentioned as a Parisian novelty by one of Balzac's
characters in _The Celibates_, the scene of which was laid about 1820.

In the Freeland house at Sutton, there are also some scenes from
Napoleon's campaign in Egypt. An inscription reads, "Le 20 mars, 1800,
100,000 Francais commandu par le brave Kleber ont vancu 200,000 Turcs,
dans le plaines de l'Heliopili."

Among the historical papers, we have "Mourning at the Tomb of
Washington," and Lord Cornwallis presenting his sword to Washington. The
former was a melancholy repetition of columns and arches, each framing a
monument labelled "Sacred to Washington," surmounted by an urn and
disconsolate eagle, and supported on either side by Liberty and Justice
mourning. Crossed arms and flags in the foreground, and a circular iron
fence about the monument completed the picture, which was repeated in
straight rows, making with its somber gray and black the most funereal
hall and stairway imaginable.

Papers representing places with truthful details were numerous and
popular, as "The Bay of Naples," "The Alhambra," "Gallipoli," "On the
Bosporus." A striking paper represents the River Seine at Paris. This
paper has a brilliant coloring and the scenes are carried entirely round
the room; nearly all the principal buildings in Paris are seen. On one
side of the room you will notice the Column Vendôme, which shows that
the paper was made after 1806. The horses in the arch of the Carousel
are still in place. As these were sent back to Venice in 1814, the paper
must have been made between these dates.

On the walls of a house in Federal Street, which was once occupied by H.
K. Oliver, who wrote the hymn called "Federal Street," is the River
Seine paper with important public buildings of Paris along its bank;
several other houses have this same paper, and half a dozen duplicates
have been sent me from various parts of New England.

I have heard of a paper at Sag Harbor, Long Island, in which old New
York scenes were pictured, but of this I have not been fortunate enough
to secure photographs.

Certain towns and their neighborhoods are particularly rich in
interesting old papers, and Salem, Massachusetts, certainly deserves
honorable mention at the head of the list. That place can show more than
a score of very old papers in perfect condition to-day, and several
houses have modern paper on the walls that was copied from the original

One old house there was formerly owned by a retired merchant, and he had
the entire ceiling of the large cupola painted to show his wharves and
his ships that sailed from this port for foreign lands.

Another fine house has a water color painting on the walls, done to look
like paper; this is one hundred and seventy-five years old.

A curious paper is supposed to be an attempt to honor the first
railroad. This is in bright colors, with lower panels in common gray
tints. The friend who obtained this for me suggests that the artist did
not know how to draw a train of cars, and so filled up the space
ingeniously with a big bowlder. This is on the walls of a modest little
house, and one wonders that an expensive landscape paper should be on
the room. But the owner of the house was an expressman and was long
employed by Salemites to carry valuable bundles back and forth from
Boston. A wealthy man who resided in Chestnut Street was having his
house papered during the rage for landscape papers, and this person
carried the papers down from Boston so carefully that the gentleman
presented him with a landscape paper of his own, as a reward for his
interest. Now the mansion has long since parted with its foreign
landscapes, but such care was taken of the humble parlor that its paper
is still intact and handsome; it is more than seventy-five years old.

A fine French paper shows a fruit garden, probably the Tuileries, in
grays and blues. The frieze at the top is of white flowers in arches
with blue sky between the arches. This room was papered for Mrs. Story,
the mother of Judge Story, in 1818.

In the Osgood house in Essex Street there is a most beautiful paper,
imported from Antwerp in the early part of the nineteenth century,
depicting a hunting scene. The hunt is centered about the hall and the
game is run down and slain in the last sheet. A balustrade is at the
foot of the picture. The color is brown sepia shades.

One neat little house, in an out-of-the-way corner in Marblehead, has a
French paper in gray, white and black, which was brought from France by
a Marblehead man who was captured by a French privateer and lived in
France many years. When he returned, he brought this with him. It shows
scenes in the life of the French soldiers. They are drinking at inns,
flirting with pretty girls, but never fighting. Another paper has
tropical plants, elephants, natives adorned with little else but
feathers and beads. The careful mother will not allow any of the
children to go alone into this room for fear they may injure it.

In a Chinese paper, one piece represents a funeral, and the horse with
its trappings is being led along without a rider; women and children are
gazing at the procession from pagodas.

On the walls of the Johnson house in North Andover is a Marie Antoinette
paper, imported from England. I have heard of only this one example of
this subject. A number of homes had painted walls, with pictures that
imitated the imported landscapes.

At the Art Museum, Boston, one may see many specimens of old paper
brought to this country before 1820, and up to 1860. A spirited scene is
deer stalking in the Scotch Highlands; the deer is seen in the distance,
one sportsman on his knees taking aim, another holding back an excited
dog. In another hunting paper, the riders are leaping fences. A pretty
Italian paper has peasants dancing and gathering grapes; vines are
trained over a pergola, and a border of purple grapes and green leaves
surrounds each section of the paper. A curious one is "Little Inns,"
with signs over the doors, as "Good Ale sold here," or "Traveler's
Rest"; all are dancing or drinking, the colors are gay. There are also
specimens of fireboards, for which special patterns were made, usually
quite ornate and striking.

When a daughter of Sir William Pepperell married Nathaniel Sparhawk, he
had a paper specially made, with the fair lady and her happy lover as
the principal figures, and a hawk sitting on a spar. This paper is still
to be seen in the Sparhawk house at Kittery Point, Maine.

Portsmouth is rich in treasures, but a member of one of the best
families there tells me it is very hard to get access to these mansions.
Curiosity seekers have committed so many atrocities, in the way of
stealing souvenirs, that visitors are looked upon with suspicion.

A house built in 1812 at Sackett's Harbor, New York, has a contemporary
paper with scenes which are Chinese in character, but the buildings have
tall flag staffs which seem to be East Indian.

Near Hoosic Falls, New York, there used to be a house whose paper showed
Captain Cook's adventures. The scenes were in oval medallions,
surrounded and connected by foliage. Different events of the Captain's
life were pictured, including the cannibals' feast, of which he was the
involuntary central figure. This paper has been destroyed, and I have
sought in vain for photographs of it. But I have seen some chintz of the
same pattern, in the possession of Miss Edith Morgan of Aurora, New
York, which was saved from her grandfather's house at Albany when it was
burned in 1790. So the paper is undoubtedly of the eighteenth century.
Think of a nervous invalid being obliged to gaze, day after day, upon
the savages gnawing human joints and gluttonizing over a fat sirloin!

The adventures of Robinson Crusoe were depicted on several houses, and
even Mother Goose was immortalized in the same way.

The managers of a "Retreat" for the harmlessly insane were obliged
first to veil with lace a figure paper, and finally to remove it from
the walls, it was so exciting and annoying to the occupants of the room.
This recalls the weird and distressing story by Elia W. Peattie, _The
Yellow Wall-Paper_. Its fantastic designs drove a poor wife to suicide.
Ugh! I can see her now, crawling around the room which was her prison.

I advise any one, who is blessed or cursed with a lively imagination, to
study a paper closely several times before purchasing, lest some demon
with a malignant grin, or a black cat, or some equally exasperating face
or design escape notice until too late. I once had a new paper removed
because the innocent looking pattern, in time of sleepless anxiety,
developed a savage's face with staring eyes, a flat nose, the grossest
lips half open, the tongue protruding, and large round ear-rings in ears
that looked like horns! This, repeated all round my sick room, was

But the old time papers are almost uniformly inspiring or amusing. What
I most enjoy are my two papers which used to cover the huge band-boxes
of two ancient dames, in which they kept their Leghorn pokes, calashes,
and quilted "Pumpkin" hoods. One has a ground of Colonial yellow, on
which is a stage-coach drawn by prancing steeds, driver on the top, whip
in hand, and two passengers seen at the windows. A tavern with a rude
swinging sign is in the background. The cover has a tropical scene--two
Arabs with a giraffe. The other band-box has a fire engine and members
of the "hose company," or whatever they called themselves, fighting a

Papers with Biblical themes were quite common. In the fascinating
biography of Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, I find a detailed account of
one. She says:

"When we reached Schenectady, the first city we children had ever seen,
we stopped to dine at the old 'Given's Hotel,' where we broke loose from
all the moorings of propriety on beholding the paper on the dining-room
wall illustrating, in brilliant colors, some of the great events in
sacred history. There were the patriarchs with flowing beards and in
gorgeous attire; Abraham, offering up Isaac; Joseph, with his coat of
many colors, thrown into a pit by his brethren; Noah's Ark on an ocean
of waters; Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea; Rebecca at the well; and
Moses in the bulrushes.

"All these distinguished personages were familiar to us, and to see them
here for the first time in living colors made silence and eating
impossible. We dashed around the room, calling to each other: 'O, Kate,
look here!' 'O, Madge, look there!' 'See little Moses!' 'See the angels
on Jacob's ladder!'

"Our exclamations could not be kept within bounds. The guests were
amused beyond description, while my mother and elder sisters were
equally mortified; but Mr. Bayard, who appreciated our childish surprise
and delight, smiled and said: 'I'll take them around and show them the
pictures, and then they will be able to dine,' which we finally did."

Inns often indulge in striking papers. A famous series of hunting
scenes, called "The Eldorado," is now seen in several large hotels; it
has recently been put on in the Parker House, Boston. It was the joint
work of two Alsatian artists, Ehrmann and Zipelius, and was printed from
about two thousand blocks. The Zuber family in Alsace has manufactured
this spirited panel paper for over fifty years; it has proved as
profitable as a gold mine and is constantly called for; I was shown a
photograph of the descendants of the owner and a large crowd of workmen
gathered to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the firm, which was
established in 1797.

An old inn at Groton, Massachusetts, was mentioned as having curious
papers, but they proved to be modern. The walls, I hear, were originally
painted with landscapes. This was an earlier style than scenic
papers--akin to frescoing. A friend writes me:

"The odd papers now on the walls of Groton Inn have the appearance of
being ancient, although the oldest is but thirty years old. Two of them
are not even reproductions, as the one in the hall depicts the Paris
Exposition of 1876, and that in the office gives scenes from the life of
Buffalo Bill.

"The Exposition has the principal buildings in the background, with a
fountain, and a long flight of steps in front leading to a street that
curves round until it meets the same scene again. Persons of many
nations, in characteristic dress, promenade the street. Pagodas and
other unique buildings are dotted here and there. The entire scene is
surrounded with a kind of frame of grasses and leaves, in somewhat of a
Louis Quinze shape. Each one of these scenes has 'Paris Exposition,
1876,' printed on it, like a quack advertisement on a rock.

"The Wild West scenes include the log cabin, the stage coach held up,
the wild riding, and the throwing of the lasso.

"The paper on the dining-room may be a reproduction. It looks like
Holland, although there are no windmills. But the canal is there with
boats and horses, other horses drinking, and men fishing; also a Dutchy
house with a bench outside the door. This paper looks as if it had been
put on the walls a hundred years ago, but in reality it is the most
recent of the three. The date of the beginning of the Inn itself is lost
in the dim past, but we know it is more than two hundred years old.
Tradition has it that there were originally but two rooms which were
occupied by the minister."

When some one writes on our early inns, as has been done so charmingly
for those of England, I prophecy that the queer papers of the long ago
will receive enthusiastic attention.

Towns near a port, or an island like Nantucket, are sure to have fine
old papers to show. A Nantucket woman, visiting the Art Museum in Boston
some dozen years since, noticed an old paper there which was highly
valued. Remembering that she had a roll of the very same style in her
attic, she went home delighted, and proudly exhibited her specimen,
which was, I believe, the motive power which started the Nantucket
Historical Society. I was presented with a piece of the paper--a
hand-painted design with two alternating pictures; an imposing castle
embowered in greenery, its towers and spires stretching far into the
sky, and below, an ornate bridge, with a score of steps at the left, and
below that the pale blue water. Engrossed lovers and flirtatious couples
are not absent.

"A Peep at the Moon" comes from Nantucket. It reveals fully as much as
our life-long students of that dead planet have been able to show us,
and the inhabitants are as probable as any described as existing on
Mars. At Duxbury, Massachusetts, there are still two much-talked-of
papers, in what is called the "Weston House"--now occupied by the Powder
Point School. Mrs. Ezra Weston was a Bradford, and the story is that
this paper was brought from Paris by her brother, Captain Gershom
Bradford. There is a continuous scene around the room, apparently from
the environs of Paris. Upstairs, a small room is papered with the
remains of the "Pizarro" paper, which was formerly in the sitting-room
opposite the parlor. This has tropical settings and shows the same
characters in more or less distinct scenes about the wall. The paper was
so strong that it was taken off the sitting-room in complete strips and
is now on a small upper chamber.

A stranger, who had heard of my collection, sent a beautiful photograph
with this glowing description:

"This wall-paper looks Oriental; it is gilt. Arabs are leading camels,
while horses are prancing proudly with their masters in the saddle as
the crescent moon is fast sinking to rest in a cloudless sky. Fountains
are playing outside of the portal entrance to a building of Saracenic
architecture, a quiet, restful scene, decidedly rich and impressive."

Thomas Bailey Aldrich, in his _Story of a Bad Boy_, describes his
grandfather's old home--the Nutter House at Rivermouth, he calls it, but
he doubtless has in mind some house at Portsmouth, his birthplace.

"On each side of the hall are doors (whose knobs, it must be confessed,
do not turn very easily), opening into large rooms wainscoted and rich
in wood-carvings about the mantel-pieces and cornices. The walls are
covered with pictured paper, representing landscapes and sea-views. In
the parlor, for example, this enlivening group is repeated all over the
room:--A group of English peasants, wearing Italian hats, are dancing on
a lawn that abruptly resolves itself into a sea-beach, upon which stands
a flabby fisherman (nationality unknown), quietly hauling in what
appears to be a small whale, and totally regardless of the dreadful
naval combat going on just beyond the end of his fishing-rod. On the
other side of the ships is the main-land again, with the same peasants
dancing. Our ancestors were very worthy people, but their wall-papers
were abominable."

With the paper on the little hall chamber which was the Bad Boy's own,
he was quite satisfied, as any healthy-minded boy should have been:

"I had never had a chamber all to myself before, and this one, about
twice the size of our state-room on board the Typhoon, was a marvel of
neatness and comfort. Pretty chintz curtains hung at the window, and a
patch quilt of more colors than were in Joseph's coat covered the little
truckle-bed. The pattern of the wall-paper left nothing to be desired in
that line. On a gray background were small bunches of leaves, unlike any
that ever grew in this world; and on every other bunch perched a
yellow-bird, pitted with crimson spots, as if it had just recovered from
a severe attack of the small-pox. That no such bird ever existed did not
detract from my admiration of each one. There were two hundred and
sixty-eight of these birds in all, not counting those split in two where
the paper was badly joined. I counted them once when I was laid up with
a fine black eye, and falling asleep immediately dreamed that the whole
flock suddenly took wing and flew out of the window. From that time I
was never able to regard them as merely inanimate objects."

One of the most spirited papers I have seen is a series of horse-racing
scenes which once adorned the walls of the eccentric Timothy Dexter.
Fragments of this paper are still preserved, framed, by Mr. T. E.
Proctor of Topsfield, Mass. The drawing makes up in spirit what it lacks
in accuracy, and the coloring leaves nothing to the imagination. The
grass and sky are as green and blue as grass and sky can be, and the
jockeys' colors could be distinguished from the most distant

This paper is a memento of the remarkable house of a remarkable
man--Timothy Dexter, an eighteenth century leather merchant of
Massachusetts, whose earnings, invested through advice conveyed to him
in dreams, brought him a fortune. With this he was able to gratify his
unique tastes in material luxuries. His house at Newburyport was filled
with preposterous French furniture and second-rate paintings. On the
roof were minarets decorated with a profusion of gold balls. In front of
the house he placed rows of columns, some fifteen feet in height,
surmounted by heroic wooden figures of famous men. As his taste in great
men changed he would have the attire and features of some statue
modified, so that General Morgan might one day find himself posing as
Bonaparte. On a Roman circle before the entrance stood his permanent
hero, Washington, supported on the left by Jefferson, on the right by
Adams, who was obliged to stand uncovered in all weathers, to suit
Timothy's ideas of the respect due to General Washington. Four roaring
wooden lions guarded this Pantheon, and the figures were still standing
when the great gale of 1815 visited Newburyport. Then the majority fell.
The rest were sold for a song, and were scattered, serving as weather
vanes and tavern signs.

Timothy Dexter wrote one book, which is now deservedly rare. This was _A
Pickle for the Knowing Ones_, of which he published at least two
editions. In this book he spoke his mind on all subjects; his
biographer, Samuel L. Knapp, calls it "a Galamathus of all the saws,
shreds, and patches that ever entered the head of a motley fool, with
items of his own history and family difficulties." His vanity, literary
style and orthography may be seen in his assertion: "Ime the first Lord
in the Younited States of Amercary, now of Newburyport. It is the voice
of the peopel and I cant Help it." To the second edition of his _Pickle_
he appended this paragraph: "Mister Printer the knowing ones complane of
my book the first edition had no stops I put in A Nuf here and they may
peper and solt it as they plese." A collection of quotation marks, or
"stops" followed.

"Lord Dexter," as he called himself and was called by one Jonathan
Plummer, a parasitic versifier who chanted doggerel in his praise, was a
picturesque character enough, and we are glad to have his memory kept
green by these few remaining bits of paper from his walls.







It was in 1880 that Clarence Cook said: "One can hardly estimate the
courage it would take to own that one liked an old-fashioned paper." How
strange that sounds now, in 1905, when all the best manufacturers and
sellers of wall-papers are reproducing the very old designs, for which
they find a ready sale among the most fastidious searchers for the
beautiful. One noted importer writes me:

"Yes, old time wall-papers are being revived, and no concern is taking
more interest in the matter than ourselves. Many old designs, which had
not been printed for thirty or forty years, have been taken up by us and
done in colors to suit the taste of the period, and we find that few of
the new drawings excel or even approach the old ones in interest.

"The glazed chintzes of the present day are all done over old blocks
which had remained unused for half a century, and those very interesting
fabrics are in the original colorings, it having been found that any new
schemes of color do not seem to work so well."

Sending recently to a leading Boston paper store for samples for my
dining-room, and expressing no desire for old patterns, I received a
reproduction of the paper on the hall of the old Longfellow house at
Portland, Maine, and a design of small medallions of the real antique
kind,--a shepherdess with her sheep and, at a little distance, a stiff
looking cottage, presumably her abode, set on a shiny white ground
marked with tiny tiles.

In fact, there is a general revival of these old designs, the original
blocks often being used for re-printing. Go to any large store in any
city to-day, where wall-papers are sold, and chintzes and cretonnes for
the finest effects in upholstery. You will be shown, first,
old-fashioned landscape papers; botanically impossible, but cheerful
baskets of fruits and flowers; or panels, with a pretty rococo effect of
fairy-like garlands of roses swung back and forth across the openwork of
the frame at each side, and suspended in garlands at top and bottom
after French modes of the Louis XIV., XV. or XVI. periods. They are even
reproducing the hand woven tapestries of Gobelin of Paris, during the
latter part of the reign of Louis XIV., when French art was at its

In London _Tit-Bits_, I recently found something apropos: "'Here,' said
a wall-paper manufacturer, 'are examples of what we call tapestry
papers. They are copied exactly from the finest Smyrna and Turkish rugs,
the colors and designs being reproduced with startling fidelity. We have
men ransacking all Europe, copying paintings and mural decorations of
past centuries. Here is the pattern of a very beautiful design of the
time of Louis XVI., which we obtained in rather a curious way. One of
our customers happened to be in Paris last summer, and being fond of
inspecting old mansions, he one day entered a tumble-down chateau, which
once belonged to a now dead and long forgotten Marquise. The rooms were
absolutely in a decaying condition, but in the salon the wall-paper
still hung, though in ribbons. The pattern was so exquisite in design,
and the coloring, vivid still in many places, so harmonious, that he
collected as many portions as he could and sent them to us to reproduce
as perfectly as possible.

"We succeeded beyond his best hopes, and the actual paper is now hanging
on the walls of a West End mansion. We only manufactured sufficient to
cover the ball-room, and it cost him two pounds a yard, but he never
grumbled, and it was not dear, considering the difficulty we had."

An article in the _Artist_ of London, September, 1898, by Lindsay P.
Butterfield, describes a wonderful find of old paper and its

"Painted decoration, whether by hand or stencil, was, no doubt, the
immediate forerunner of paper hangings. The earliest reference to paper
hangings in this country is to be found in the inventory taken at 'the
monasterye of S. Syxborough in the Ile of Shepey, in the Countie of
Kent, by Syr Thomas Cheney, Syr William Hawle, Knyghts and Antony
Slewtheger, Esquyer, the XXVII day of Marche, in XXVII the yeare of our
Soveraigne Lorde, Kyng Henrye the VIII, of the goods and catall
belongyng to sayde Monastery.'

"In this very interesting document, a minutely descriptive list of the
ornaments, furniture and fittings of the nuns' chambers is given. We
find from this that, in place of the 'paynted clothes for the hangings
of the chamber,' mentioned in most of the entries, under the heading of
Dame Margaret Somebody's chamber is set down 'the chamber hangings of
painted papers.'

"Wall-papers of Charles II.'s reign, and later, are still in existence;
those at Ightham Mote, Kent, are well known instances.

"But so far as the writer is aware, the accompanying reproductions
represent the oldest wall-papers now existing in England. They were
found during the restoration of a fifteenth century timber-built house,
known as 'Borden Hall' or the 'Parsonage Farm,' in the village of
Borden, near Sittingbourne, Kent.

"The design marked 'A' was discovered in small fragments when the
Georgian battening and wainscoats were removed in the first floor
bed-room of the east front, in the oldest part of the house. These
fragments showed that the tough paper had been originally nailed with
flat-headed nails to the dried clay 'daubing' or plaster, with which the
spaces between the timber uprights of the walls were filled in; the
timbers themselves were painted a dark blue-grey, and a border of the
same framed the strips of wall-paper. Owing to the walls having been
battened out nearly two centuries ago, these fragments of a really
striking design have been preserved to us.

"The design of 'B' was also found on the first floor, in the rear
portion of the house. It had been pasted, in the modern manner, onto a
large plaster surface. The walls on which it was found had been
re-plastered over the original plastering and paper and thus the latter
was preserved in perfect condition. The design and quality of the paper,
and the mode of its attachment, point to a date of about 1650. 'A' is
probably of an earlier date (say 1550-1600) and is very thick and tough.
The ornament is painted in black on a rich vermilion ground, and the
flower forms are picked out in a bright turquoise blue. 'B' is much more
modern looking, both in texture and design, and in both is very inferior
to 'A.'

"Its coloring is meagre compared with the other, the ornament being
printed in black on white paper, and the flower forms roughly dabbed
with vermilion. The character of the design in both cases seems
referable to Indian influence; possibly they were the work of an Indian
artist, and were cut as blocks for cotton printing, an impression being
taken off on paper and hung on the walls. The house is in course of
restoration under the superintendence of Mr. Philip M. Johnston,
architect, to whom I am indebted for some of the particulars above
given. To the owner of Borden Hall, Lewis Levy, Esq., I am also indebted
for permission to publish the designs which I have reproduced in
fac-simile from the original fragments. It is hoped shortly to hang the
walls in the old manner with the reproduced papers."

I have copied from an 1859 edition of _Rambles about Portsmouth_, a
strange story of the restoration of frescoes in the old Warner house at
Portsmouth, New Hampshire:

"At the head of the stairs, on the broad space each side of the hall
windows, there are pictures of two Indians, life size, highly decorated
and executed by a skillful artist. These pictures have always been on
view there, and are supposed to represent some Indian with whom the
original owner traded in furs, in which business he was engaged. In the
lower hall of the house are still displayed the enormous antlers of an
elk, a gift from these red men.

"Not long since, the spacious front entry underwent repairs; there had
accumulated four coatings of paper. In one place, on removing the under
coating, the picture of a horse was discovered by a little girl. This
led to further investigation; the horse of life size was developed; a
little further work exhumed Governor Phipps on his charger. The process
of clearing the walls was now entered upon in earnest, as if delving in
the ruins of Pompeii.

"The next discovery was that of a lady at a spinning wheel (ladies span
in those days!) who seems interrupted in her work by a hawk lighting
among the chickens.

"Then came a Scripture scene; Abraham offering up Isaac; the angel, the
ram, and so on. There is a distant city scene, and other sketches on the
walls, covering perhaps four or five hundred square feet. The walls have
been carefully cleaned, and the whole paintings, evidently the work of
some clever artist, are now presented in their original beauty.

"No person living had any knowledge of the hidden paintings; they were
as novel to an old lady of eighty, who had been familiar with the house
from her childhood, as to her grand-daughter who discovered the horse's
foot. The rooms are furnished with panelled walls and the old Dutch
tiles still decorate the fire-place."

It is gratifying to note that as these old frescoes and wall-papers are
ruthlessly destroyed by those unaware of their value (which will
constantly increase), there are those who insist on their preservation
and reproduction. President Tucker of Dartmouth College, for instance,
has forbidden the removal of the Bay of Naples landscape from the walls
of what was formerly the library of Professor Sanborn at Hanover, New
Hampshire. The house is now used as a dormitory, but that paper is
treated with decided reverence.

Reproduction of a fine paper worn, soiled and torn is an expensive
matter, but those who realize their beauty order them if the price per
roll is six or ten dollars. One of the most delightful papers of the
present season is one copied from a French paper originally on the walls
of a Salem house and known to have been there for over one hundred
years. It is charming in design, with landscapes and flowers,
twenty-eight different colors in all, and that means much when it is
understood that every color must be printed from a different block when
the paper is made.

The paper is brilliant in effect, with many bright colored flowers, pink
hollyhocks in a warm rose shade, purple morning glories, some blue
blossoms and two different water scenes set deep into the mass of
flowers, the scenes themselves of delicate tones and wonderful
perspective. The original paper was in pieces twenty inches wide by
twenty-eight long, which shows it to be very old. This reproduction will
be seen on the walls in houses of Colonial style in Newport this summer.

Yes, summer tourists are looking up old walls to gaze at with
admiration. Many have found a Mecca in the Cleasby Place at Waterford,
Vermont. Hardly a summer Sunday passes without a wagon load of persons
going from Littleton towards the Connecticut River on a pilgrimage to
Waterford and the Cleasby House. This house is said to be one of only
three in New England which possess a certain wonderful old paper of
strange design. The paper, a combination of brown and cream, bears
scenes that evidently found their origin in foreign countries, but there
are diverse opinions as to the nation whose characteristics are thereon
depicted so realistically. An old house at Rockville, Massachusetts,
still boasts this same paper, while the third example is on the walls of
the Badger homestead, described on page 77. Plates XLVIII to L give
scenes from these papers.

The Cleasby house was regarded, in the olden times, as the great mansion
in this locality. There was nothing finer than the residence in any of
the surrounding towns. The structure was erected by Henry Oakes, an
old-time settler in Northern Vermont, whose relatives still reside near
by. The paper was put on at the time the house was built and cost one
hundred dollars. A paper-hanger came up from Boston to put it on
properly, and this cost the owner an extra forty dollar check. In those
days, the coming of a paper-hanger from Boston was regarded quite in the
light of an event, and a hundred dollars expended for wall-paper stamped
a man as a capitalist.

The house is still well preserved and shows no suggestion of being a
ruin, although approaching the century mark. The present owner has been
offered a large sum for this beautiful old paper, but wisely prefers to
hold her treasure.

Paper-hangers to-day are returning, in some cases, to the hand-printing
of fine papers, because they insist that there are some advantages in
the old method to compensate for the extra work. To go back a bit, the
earliest method of coloring paper hangings was by stencilling. A piece
of pasteboard, with the pattern cut out on it, was laid on the paper,
and water colors were freely applied with a brush to the back of the
pasteboard, so that the colors came through the openings and formed the
pattern on the paper. This process was repeated several times for the
different colors and involved a great expenditure of labor. It was
replaced by the method of calico-printing, which is now generally used
in the manufacture of wall-paper, that is, by blocks and later by
rollers. And why, you naturally ask, this return to the slow and
laborious way?

Mr. Rottman, of the London firm of Alexander Rottman & Co., a high
authority on this theme, in an able lecture given at his studio in
London, explains the reasons in a way so clear that any one can
understand. He says:

"In an age where needles are threaded by machinery at the rate of nearly
one per second; where embroideries are produced by a machine process
which reverses the old method in moving the cloth up to fixed needles;
where Sunlight Soap is shaped, cut, boxed, packed into cases, nailed up,
labelled, and even sent to the lighters by machinery, so that hand
labour is almost entirely superseded; it seems odd and, in fact, quite
out of date and uncommercial to print wall-papers entirely by hand

"The up-to-date wall-paper machine turns out most wonderful
productions. It is able to imitate almost any fabric; tapestries,
Gobelins, laces, and even tries to copy artistic stencilling in gradated
tints. It manages to deceive the inartistic buyer to a large extent, in
fact, there is hardly any fabric that the modern demand for 'sham' does
not expect the wall-paper machine to imitate.

"However, in spite of all these so-called achievements, the modest
hand-printing table that existed at the time of wigs and snuff-boxes is
still surviving more or less in its old-fashioned simple construction.
And why is this so?" He then explains why a hand-printed paper is always
preferred to a machine paper by the person of taste, whose purse is not
too slender. Seven reasons are given for their artistic superiority.

"1. Machine papers can be printed in thin colours only, which means a
thin, loose colour effect.

"2. In machine papers the whole of the various colours are printed at
one operation, one on the top of another. In hand-printed papers, no
colours touch each other until dry, and so each colour remains pure.

"3. Large surfaces, such as big leaves, large flat flowers, broad
stripes that have to be printed in one colour, are never successful in
machines, wanting solidity of colour. Hand-printed papers run no such

"4. The machine limits the variety of papers to the flat kind; to flat
surfaces supplied by the paper mills in reels.

"5. Flaws, irregularities, and so on, when occurring in machine goods,
run through many yards, owing to the necessary rapidity of printing, and
the difficulty of stopping the machine; whilst every block repeat of
pattern in the hand-printed goods is at once visible to the printer, who
rectifies any defect before printing another impression, and so controls
every yard.

"6. The hand-printed papers, being printed from wood blocks (only dots
and thin lines subject to injury being inserted in brass) show more
softness in the printing than papers printed from machine rollers that
have to be made in brass.

"7. The preparation of getting the machine colours in position, and
setting the machine ready for printing, necessitates the turning out of
at least a ream, or a half ream (five hundred or two hundred and fifty
rolls) at once; whilst the equivalent in hand-printing is fifty to sixty
rolls. It often happens that the design of a machine paper is approved
of, whilst the colourings it is printed in are unsuited to the scheme.
By the hand process, room quantities of even ten to fifteen pieces can
be printed specially at from 15 per cent. to 20 per cent. advance in
price, while the increase in cost for such a small quantity in machine
paper would send up the price to ridiculous proportions."

The use of brass pins in the wood blocks is also a revival of the old
method, as you will see from this interesting paragraph from a recent
volume--Lewis F. Day's _Ornament and Its Application_:

"Full and crowded pattern has its uses. The comparatively fussy detail,
which demeans a fine material, helps to redeem a mean one.

"Printed wall-paper, for example, or common calico, wants detail to
give it a richness which, in itself, it has not. In printed cotton, flat
colours look dead and lifeless. The old cotton printers had what they
called a 'pruning roller,' a wooden roller (for hand-printing) into
which brass pins or wires were driven. The dots printed from this roller
relieved the flatness of the printed colours, and gave 'texture' to it.
William Morris adopted this idea of dotting in his cretonne and
wall-paper design with admirable effect. It became, in his hands, an
admirable convention, in place of natural shading. The interest of a
pattern is enhanced by the occurrence at intervals of appropriate
figures; but with every recurrence of the same figure, human or animal,
its charm is lessened until, at last, the obvious iteration becomes, in
most cases, exasperating.

"And yet, in the face of old Byzantine, Sicilian, and other early woven
patterns with their recurring animals, and of Mr. Crane's consummately
ornamental patterns, it cannot be said that repeated animal (and even
human) forms do not make satisfactory pattern.

"For an illustration of this, look at the wall-paper design by Crane:
'This is the House that Jack built.' It seems, at first glance, to be a
complicated ornamental design; after long searching, you at last see
plainly every one of the characters in that jingle that children so

William Morris, and his interest in wall-paper hanging, must be spoken
of, "For it was Morris who made this a truly valuable branch of domestic
ornamentation. If, in some other instances, he was rather the restorer
and infuser of fresh life into arts fallen into degeneracy, he was
nothing short of a creator in the case of wall-paper design, which, as a
serious decorative art, owes its existence to him before anyone else."

In his lecture on _The Lesser Arts of Life_, he insisted on the
importance of paying due regard to the artistic treatment of our wall
spaces. "Whatever you have in your rooms, think first of the walls, for
they are that which makes your house and home; and, if you don't make
some sacrifice in their favor, you will find your chambers have a sort
of makeshift, lodging-house look about them, however rich and handsome
your movables may be."

A collector is always under a spell; hypnotized, bewitched, possibly
absurdly engrossed and unduly partial to his own special hobby, and to
uninterested spectators, no doubt seems a trifle unbalanced, whether his
specialty be the fossilized skeleton of an antediluvian mammoth or a
tiny moth in a South American jungle.

I am not laboring under the exhilarating but erroneous impression that
there is any widespread and absorbing interest in this theme. As the
distinguished jurist, Mr. Adrian H. Joline, says, "Few there are who
cling with affection to the memory of the old fashioned. Most of us
prefer to spin with the world down the ringing grooves of change, to
borrow the shadow of a phrase which has of itself become old-fashioned."
Yet, as Mr. Webster said of Dartmouth, when he was hard pressed: "It is
a little college, but there are those who love it."

Besides, everything--Literature, Art and even fashions in dress and
decorations,--while seeming to progress really go in waves. We are now
wearing the bonnets, gowns and mantles of the 1830 style and much
earlier. Fabulous and fancy prices are gladly given for antique
furniture; high boys, low boys, hundred-legged tables, massive four-post
bedsteads, banjo clocks, and crystal chandeliers.

Those able to do it are setting tapestries into their stately walls,
hangings of rich brocades and silk are again in vogue and the old
designs for wall-paper are being hunted up all through Europe and this
country. Some also adopt a colored wash for their bed-room walls, and
cover their halls with burlap or canvas, while the skins of wild animals
adorn city dens as well as the mountain lodge or the seaside bungalow.
So we have completed the circle.

The unco rich of to-day give fabulous sums for crystal candelabra, or
museum specimens of drawing room furniture; and collectors, whether
experts or amateurs, and beginners just infected with the microbe are
searching for hidden treasures of china, silver and glass.

Why should the Old Time Wall-Papers alone be left unchronicled and
forgotten? In them the educated in such matters read the progress of the
Art; some of them are more beautiful than many modern paintings; the
same patterns are being admired and brought out; the papers themselves
will soon all be removed.

Hawthorne believed that the furniture of a room was magnetized by those
who occupied it; a modern psychologist declares that even a rag doll
dearly loved by a child becomes something more than a purely inanimate
object. We should certainly honor the wall-papers brought over the seas
from various countries at great expense to beautify the Homes of our



_The wall-papers reproduced in the following plates were in many cases
faded, water-stained and torn, when photographed. Many of the
photographs are amateur work; some are badly focused and composed, some
taken in small rooms and under unfavorable conditions of light. The
reader will bear this in mind in judging the papers themselves and the
present reproductions._




The Bayeux Tapestry.

     The oldest tapestry now in existence, dating from the time of
     William the Conqueror, and apparently of English workmanship. The
     set of pieces fits the nave of the Cathedral of Bayeux, measuring
     231 feet long and 20 inches wide. Now preserved in the Bayeux

     The subjects are drawn from English history; Plate VII represents
     the burial of Edward the Confessor in the Church of St. Peter,
     Westminster Abbey.


The Bayeux Tapestry.

     King Harold listening to news of the preparations of William of
     Orange for the invasion of Britain.






Borden Hall Paper.

     The oldest wall-paper known in England; found in restoring a
     fifteenth-century timber-built house known as "Borden Hall," in
     Borden village, Kent, near Sittingbourne.

     Design "A" was found in the oldest part of the house, and probably
     dates from the second half of the sixteenth century. The paper is
     thick and tough, and was nailed to the plaster between uprights.
     The walls were afterward battened over the paper, and the recovered
     fragments are in perfect condition. Ground color rich vermillion,
     with flowers in bright turquoise blue, the design in black.


Borden Hall Paper.

     Old English paper, design "B"; found in rear part of house and
     dates from about 1650. It was pasted to the plaster in the modern
     manner. Printed in black on a white ground, flowers roughly colored
     vermillion. Inferior to "A" in design, coloring, and quality of





Early English Pictorial Paper

     Late eighteenth century hunting scene paper from an old Manor House
     near Chester, England. Reproduced from a fragment in the collection
     of Mr. Edward T. Cockcroft of New York City. The pattern is
     evidently repeated at intervals.




The Cultivation of Tea.

     Hand-painted Chinese paper, imported about 1750 and still in good
     state of preservation; the property of Mr. Theodore P. Burgess of
     Dedham, Mass. The subject is perhaps the oldest theme used in
     wall-paper decoration in China.





The Cultivation of Tea.

     Paper on another side of room shown in Plate XII.


The Cultivation of Tea.

     Third side of same room. The scene continues round the room without






Early American Fresco.

     Painted river scenes on the best chamber walls of the house of Mrs.
     William Allen at Westwood, Mass. The elm and locust trees and
     architectural style are plainly American, but the geographical
     location is uncertain. The colors are very brilliant--red, blue,
     green, etc.


Early American Fresco.

     Another side of same room, showing conventionalized water fall and
     bend in the river.






Early American Fresco.

     Another view of the painted walls at Westwood, Mass. The object
     depicted is neither a whale nor a torpedo-boat, but an island.


Early American Fresco.

     Painted hall and stairway in an old house in High Street, Salem,
     Mass., attached to the very old bake-shop of Pease and Price. The
     frescoes were executed by a Frenchman. Colors are still quite
     bright, but a good photograph could not be secured in the small and
     dimly-lighted hall.






Early Stencilled Paper.

     Fragments of very old paper from Nantucket, R. I.


A Peep at the Moon.

     Another quaint stencilled paper found at Nantucket, R. I.


[Illustration: A PEEP AT THE MOON]



Pictured Ruins and Decorative Designs.

     Hall of a homestead at Salem, Massachusetts, old when gas lights
     were introduced in Salem. The paper was undoubtedly made to fit the
     stairway and hall. The large picture in the lower hall is repeated
     at the landing.




Hand Colored Paper with Repeated Pattern.

     Parlor in the home of Mrs. Russell Jarvis at Claremont, New
     Hampshire. The paper is hand-printed on cream ground in snuff-brown
     color, and is made up of pieces eighteen inches square, showing
     three alternating pastoral scenes. In the frieze and dado the
     prevailing color is dark blue. (p.56)





Scenes from Nature in Repeated Design.

     Parlor of the Lindell house at Salem, Massachusetts. White
     wainscoting and mantel surmounted by paper in squares, showing four
     outdoor scenes. The fire-board concealing the unused fire-place is
     covered with paper and border specially adapted to that purpose.


The Alhambra.

     Two scenes from the Alhambra Palace, repeated in somewhat
     monotonous rows. Still in a good state of preservation on the upper
     hall of a house at Leicester, Massachusetts,--one of the sea-port
     towns rich in foreign novelties brought home by sea captains.






Cathedral Porch and Shrine in Repeated Design.

     Effectively colored paper still on the walls at Ware,
     Massachusetts, showing a shrine in the porch of a cathedral; the
     repeated design being connected with columns, winding stairs and
     ruins. The blue sky seen through the marble arches contrasts finely
     with the green foliage.


Cathedral Porch and Shrine, Architectural Background.

     Paper on a chamber in the mansion of Governor Gore of
     Massachusetts, at Waltham, Massachusetts, erected and decorated in
     1802. Medallion pictures in neutral colors, of a cathedral porch,
     shrine and mountain view, alternating on a stone-wall ground.





Birds of Paradise and Peacocks.

     The drawing-room of the Governor Gore Mansion at Waltham,
     Massachusetts, bequeathed by its owner, Miss Walker, to the
     Episcopal Church for the Bishop's residence. The paper is still in
     beautiful condition, printed on brownish cream ground in the
     natural colors of birds and foliage. (p. 75)




Sacred to Washington.

     Memorial paper in black and gray placed on many walls soon after
     the death of Washington. The example photographed was on a hall and
     stairway. (p. 88)




Dorothy Quincy Wedding Paper.

     On the Dorothy Quincy house on Hancock Street, at Quincy, Mass.,
     now the headquarters of the Colonial Dames of Massachusetts. It was
     imported from Paris in honor of the marriage of Dorothy Quincy and
     John Hancock in 1775, and still hangs on the walls of the large
     north parlor. Venus and Cupid are printed in blue, the floral
     decorations in red. The colors are still unfaded. (p. 65)





The Pantheon.

     Mounted fragments rescued from the destruction of the dining-room
     paper which was on the walls of the King's Tavern or "Waffle
     Tavern" at Vernon (now Rockville), Connecticut, when Lafayette was
     entertained there in 1825. All the characters of Roman mythology
     were pictured in woodland scenes printed in gray and black, on
     small squares of paper carefully matched. Below these ran a band
     bearing the names of the characters represented; and below this, a
     grassy green dado dotted with marine pictures. (p. 69)


Canterbury Bells.

     Paper from Howe's Tavern, at Sudbury, Massachusetts,--the "Wayside
     Inn" of Longfellow's Tales. The fragment is in poor condition but
     possesses historic interest, having decorated the room in which
     Lafayette passed the night on his trip through America. (p. 67)






The First Railroad Locomotive.

     Paper on an old house in High Street, Salem, supposed to represent
     the first railroad. The first trial of locomotives for any purpose
     other than hauling coal from the mines, took place near Rainhill,
     England, in 1829. The paper may celebrate this contest, at which of
     three engines was successful. (p. 89-90)


High Street House Paper.

     Scene on opposite side of same room. The subject and figures seem
     English. The scenes are in colors, the dado in black and grey on
     white ground.






Pizarro in Peru.

     Remains of Pizarro paper in the Ezra Weston house now used for the
     famous Powder Point School for Boys, at Duxbury, Massachusetts.
     Formerly on sitting-room but now preserved in a small upper room;
     stained and dim. It was brought from Paris by Captain Gershom
     Bradford, and is supposed to depict scenes in Pizarro's invasion of
     Peru in 1531. The same figures are shown in successive scenes, more
     or less distinct though running into each other. (p. 97)


Pizarro in Peru.

     Another corner of same room. Both the paper and photograph are
     difficult to reproduce.






Tropical Scenes.

     Paper from the Ham House at Peabody, Massachusetts, now occupied by
     Dr. Worcester. These scenes are quite similar to those of the
     Pizarro paper, and may have been the work of the same designer.


Tropical Scenes.

     Ham house paper. Another side of room.






On the Bosporus.

     From a house at Montpelier, Vermont, in which it was hung in 1825,
     in honor of Lafayette who was entertained there. The Mosque of
     Santa Sophia and other buildings of Constantinople are seen in the


On the Bosporus.

     Opposite side of same room. Fishing from caiques on the Golden Horn
     before Stamboul.





Oriental Scenes.

     Paper still on the walls of the home of Miss Janet A. Lathrop, at
     Stockport, New York. It was put on the walls in 1820 by the sea
     captain who built the house, and in 1904 was cleaned and restored
     by the present owner. No other example of this paper in America has
     been heard of, except in an old house at Albany in which the mother
     of Miss Lathrop was born. In the "Chinese room" of a hunting lodge
     belonging to the King of Saxony, at Moritzburg, near Dresden, is a
     similar paper or tapestry from which this may have been copied. It
     is printed in grays which have become brown with age, from engraved
     blocks, and finished by hand. This is a rare example of the use of
     rice paper for a wall covering. (p. 55)




Oriental Scenes.

     Continuation of same paper; apparently a religious procession.




Oriental Scenes.

     Another section of the Lathrop house paper.




Oriental Scenes.

     End of room containing three preceding scenes.




Early Nineteenth Century Scenic Paper.

     Side wall of parlor of Mrs. E. C. Cowles at Deerfield,
     Massachusetts. The house was built in 1738 by Ebenezer Hinsdale,
     and was re-modelled and re-decorated about the beginning of the
     nineteenth century. Still in good state of preservation. The colors
     are neutral.




     Parlor of Mrs. Cowles' house, end of room.





     Another example of the same paper as that on the Cowles house
     (Plates XLIV and XLV). This paper was imported from England and
     hung in 1805, in a modest house at Warner, New Hampshire,--such a
     house as seldom indulged in such expensive papers. It is still on
     the walls, though faded.


     At Windsor, Vermont, two more examples of this paper are still to
     be seen. One is on the house now occupied by the Sabin family. This
     was built about 1810 by the Honorable Edward R. Campbell, and the
     paper was hung when the house was new. (p. 52)






Harbor Scene.

     Paper found in three houses in New England--the home of Mr. Wilfred
     Cleasby at Waterford, Vermont; the Governor Badger homestead at
     Gilmanton, New Hampshire, built in 1825; and an old house in
     Rockville, Massachusetts, built about ninety years ago. The scene
     fits the four walls of the room without repetition. The design is
     printed in browns on a cream ground, with a charming effect. The
     geographical identity of the scenes has never been established. (p.


The Spanish Fandango.

     Continuation of same paper; another side of room.





Strolling Players.

     Same paper, third view. The set of paper on the Cleasby house is
     said by descendants of the builder, Henry Oakes, to have cost $100,
     and $40 for its hanging. The similar set on the Badger homestead
     should have cost $50, had not the messenger lost the first payment
     sent, so that that sum had to be duplicated. This is on a smaller
     room than at the Cleasby house, requiring less paper. (p. 76-80)





Rural Scene.

     Paper on the parlor of Mr. Josiah Cloye at Ashland, Massachusetts,
     and found also in several other places; colors neutral.


Rural Scene.

     From another example of the same set found at Marblehead,






French Boulevard Scene.

     Paper from the Forrester house at Salem, Massachusetts, now used as
     a sanitarium for the insane. Since the photographs were taken the
     paper has been removed as it unduly excited the patients.


French Boulevard Scene.

     Same as above. Found also in a house at the sea-port town of





Gateway and Fountain.

     French paper, imported before 1800, but never hung. A few rolls
     still survive, in the possession of Mr. George M. Whipple of Salem,




Scenes from Paris.

     A very popular paper found in Federal Street, Salem, on the parlor
     of Mrs. Charles Sadler, daughter of Henry K. Oliver; in the Ezra
     Weston house at Duxbury, Massachusetts, built in 1808; the Walker
     house at Rockville, Massachusetts, and several other New England
     towns. The principal buildings of Paris are represented as lining
     the shore of the Seine. The inclusion of the Colonne Vendôme shows
     it to have been designed since 1806; and as the horses on the
     Carousel arch were returned to Venice in 1814, the paper probably
     dates between those years. (p. 88)




Scenes from Paris.

     Another side of room shown in Plate LVI. The paper is in pieces 16
     by 21 inches. The colors are soft, with green, gray and brown
     predominating, but with some black, yellow, red, etc. The drawing
     is good.




Bay of Naples.

     This seems to have been the most popular paper of the early
     nineteenth century. It decorated the room in which the author was
     born--the library of Professor E. D. Sanborn of Dartmouth College,
     at Hanover, New Hampshire,--and is still in place. The house is now
     used as a Dartmouth dormitory. The same scenes are found in the
     Lawrence house, at Exeter, New Hampshire, now used as a
     dormitory--Dunbay Hall--of the Phillips Exeter Academy; on the
     house of Mrs. E. B. McGinley at Dudley, Massachusetts, and on
     another at St. Johnsbury, Vermont, now owned by Mrs. Emma Taylor.
     (p. 49, 108)




Bay of Naples.

     Continuation of same scene. This paper is in neutral colors, and
     made in small pieces. It was imported about 1820.




Bay of Naples.

     Detail. The monument has a Greek inscription which Professor
     Kittredge of Harvard University translates literally: "Emperor
     Cæsar, me divine Hadrian. Column of the Emperor Antoninus
     Pius"--who was the son of Hadrian. The pillar of Antonine still
     stands at Rome. The statue of Antoninus which formerly surmounted
     it was removed by Pope Sextus, who substituted a figure of Paul.





Bay of Naples.

     Another side of room.


Bay of Naples.

     Detail: Galleon at anchor.





Cupid and Psyche.

     Panelled paper in colors, designed by Lafitte and executed by
     Dufour in 1814. It consists of twenty-six breadths, each five feet
     seven inches long by twenty inches wide. It is said that fifteen
     hundred engraved blocks were used in printing. The design is
     divided into twelve panels, depicting the marriage of Cupid and
     Psyche, Psyche's lack of faith and its sad consequences.

     The scene reproduced shows the visit of the newly-wedded Psyche's
     jealous sisters to her palace, where they persuade her that her
     unseen husband is no god, but a monster whom she must kill.




Cupid and Psyche.

     While Cupid lies sleeping in the darkness, Psyche takes her dagger,
     lights her lamp, and bends over the unconscious god:

     * * * There before her lay
  The very Love brighter than dawn of day;

    *       *       *       *       *

  O then, indeed, her faint heart swelled for love,
  And she began to sob, and tears fell fast
  Upon the bed.--But as she turned at last
  To quench the lamp, there happed a little thing,
  That quenched her new delight, for flickering
  The treacherous flame cast on his shoulder fair
  A burning drop; he woke, and seeing her there,
  The meaning of that sad sight knew too well,
  Nor was there need the piteous tale to tell.

  WILLIAM MORRIS: _The Earthly Paradise._




The Adventures of Telemachus.

     Paper from the home of Dr. John Lovett Morse at Taunton,
     Massachusetts, illustrating the sixth book of Fenelon's _Adventures
     of Telemachus_. Found also in the home of Mr. Henry De Witt
     Freeland at Sutton, Massachusetts; on the hall of "The Hermitage,"
     Andrew Jackson's home near Nashville, Tennessee; and in an ancient
     house at Kennebunk, Maine. (p. 86-88)

     Telemachus, son of Ulysses, and Mentor, who is Minerva in
     disguise, while searching through two worlds for the lost Ulysses,
     arrive at the island of the goddess Calypso and her nymphs.
     Telemachus recites the tale of their adventures, and Calypso (who
     is unfortunately divided by the window into two equal parts)
     becomes as deeply enamored of Telemachus as she had formerly been
     of his father.




The Adventures of Telemachus.

     Venus, who is bent on detaining Telemachus on the island and
     delaying his filial search for Ulysses, brings her son Cupid from
     Olympus, and leaves him with Calypso, that he may inflame the young
     hero's heart with love for the goddess.




The Adventures of Telemachus.

     Cupid stirs up all the inflammable hearts within his reach somewhat
     indiscriminately; and Telemachus finds himself in love with the
     nymph Eucharis. Calypso becomes exceedingly jealous. At a
     hunting-contest in honor of Telemachus, Eucharis appears in the
     costume of Diana to attract him, while the jealous Calypso rages
     alone in her grotto. Venus arrives in her dove-drawn car and takes
     a hand in the game of hearts.




Adventures of Telemachus.

     Calypso, in her rage against Eucharis and Telemachus, urges Mentor
     to build a boat and take Telemachus from her island. Mentor,
     himself disapproving of the youth's infatuation, builds the boat;
     then finds Telemachus and persuades him to leave Eucharis and
     embark with him. As they depart toward the shore, Eucharis returns
     to her companions, while Telemachus looks behind him at every step
     for a last glimpse of the nymph.




Adventures of Telemachus.

     Cupid meantime has dissuaded Calypso from her wrath and incited the
     nymphs to burn the boat that is waiting to bear the visitors away.
     Mentor, perceiving that Telemachus is secretly glad of this, and
     fearing the effect of his passion for Eucharis, throws the youth
     from the cliff into the water, leaps in after him, and swims with
     him to a ship that lies at anchor beyond the treacherous shoals.




Scottish Scenes.

     The room on which the Adventures of Telemachus are pictured having
     proved too large for the set of scenes, the remaining corner is
     filled out with what appear to be Scottish scenes, possibly
     illustrations for Scott. Harmony in coloring was apparently of more
     importance than harmony in subject.





The Olympic Games.

     This famous paper, now owned by Mrs. Franklin R. Webber 2d of
     Boston, was made in France and imported in 1800 or earlier, but
     never hung. Each roll is made up of squares invisibly joined, and
     the thirty pieces combine to form a continuous panorama. The
     coloring is brown. The paper was probably printed by hand from
     engraved blocks, and the shading of faces, etc., added by hand. The
     most artistic pictorial paper known. (p. 52-54)


The Olympic Games.

     A tribute to Homer.






The Olympic Games.

     The shrine of Vesta.


The Olympic Games.

     Worshipping Athene in the Court of the Erechtheum.






The Olympic Games.

     Oblation to Bacchus.


The Olympic Games.

     Oblation to Bacchus, and procession before the Parthenon. From the
     Perry house at Keene, N. H., on whose parlor walls is preserved the
     only other known example of the paper just described. (p. 50)





The Lady of the Lake.

     This series of scenes in neutral colors is photographed from the
     parlor of the Rev. Pelham Williams, at Greenbush, Mass., whose
     house is one of three on which it still hangs in good condition.
     The other examples are the Hayward house at Wayland, Mass., and the
     Alexander Ladd house, now owned by Mrs. Charles Wentworth, at
     Portsmouth, N. H.



  Yelled on the view the opening pack--
  Rock, glen, and cavern paid them back;
  To many a mingled sound at once
  The awakened mountain gave response.
  An hundred dogs bayed deep and strong,
  Clattered a hundred steeds along,
  Their peal the merry horns rang out,
  An hundred voices joined the shout;
  With bark, and whoop, and wild halloo,
  No rest Benvoirlich's echoes knew.




The Lady of the Lake.



  'Twas all prepared--and from the rock,
  A goat, the patriarch of the flock,
  Before the kindling pile was laid,
  And pierced by Roderick's ready blade.

    *       *       *       *       *

  The grisly priest with murmuring prayer,
  A slender crosslet framed with care.

    *       *       *       *       *

  The cross, thus formed, he held on high,
  With wasted hand and haggard eye,
  And strange and mingled feelings woke,
  While his anathema he spoke.


    *       *       *       *       *

  He paused--the word the vassals took,
  With forward step and fiery look,
  On high their naked brands they shook,
  Their clattering targets wildly strook;
  And first, in murmur low,
  Then, like the billow in his course,
  That far to seaward finds his source,
  And flings to shore his mustered force,
  Burst with loud roar, their answer hoarse,
   "Woe to the traitor, woe!"




The Lady of the Lake.



[Blanche of Devan and Fitz-James]

  Now wound the path its dizzy ledge
  Around a precipice's edge,
  When lo! a wasted female form,
  Blighted by wrath of sun and storm,
  In tattered weeds and wild array,
  Stood on a cliff beside the way,
  And glancing round her restless eye
  Upon the wood, the rock, the sky,
  Seemed nought to mark, yet all to spy.
  Her brow was wreathed with gaudy broom;
  With gesture wild she waved a plume
  Of feathers, which the eagles fling
  To crag and cliff from dusky wing;

    *       *       *       *       *

  And loud she laughed when near they drew,
  For then the lowland garb she knew:
  And then her hands she wildly wrung,
  And then she wept, and then she sung.




     This scene fills the fourth side of the room on which _The Lady of
     the Lake_ is pictured, but does not illustrate any scene in the




The Seasons.

     Pastoral paper in neutral colors on the library of Prof. Ira Young
     of Dartmouth, at Hanover, N. H. The four seasons are represented on
     different sides of the room, blending into each other--sowing,
     haying, harvesting and sleighing. Still on the walls in good state
     of preservation. (p. 49)




The Seasons.

     Another view of Professor Young's library. The colors in this paper
     are neutral.




The Seasons.

     Third view from Professor Young's library.



Transcriber's note:

  P.16. 'Huis-en-ten-Bosch' corrected to 'Huis-ten-Bosch', changed.
  P.17. 'asked me ot', 'ot' corrected to 'to', changed.
  P.36. 'country and and', taken out the extra 'and'.
  P.89. 'Carousal' is 'Carousel', changed.
           The Carousel is not a drinking party.
  P.92. 'treaures' typo for 'treasures', changed.
  P.103. 'are in the the original', taken out the extra 'the'.
  P.115. 'when she' changed 'she' to 'he'.
  Plate LVI, 'Carousal' is meant 'Carousel', changed.
  Plate LXVI, 'Olympos' typo for 'Olympus', changed.

  Fixed various commas and full stops.


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