French Gothic Revival Wallpaper

Block-printed wallpaper has a special character. Here is a close-up detail of a French Gothic Revival wallpaper pattern made in the mid-19th century. This pristine partial roll was left over when the paper was hung in Whitten House in Maine in 1852 and remains in the house. The paper hung on the walls has lost much of its shine over 168 years but survives in overall good condition.

It was produced before wood pulp largely replaced pulp made from rags in paper making. Rag paper does not have the acid content that causes wood pulp paper to become brittle and turn brown. Consequently, older wallpaper made from rags often is found in better condition than newer wood pulp wallpaper.

The glossy ground color on this paper was painted on and then polished to a high shine before the printed pattern was applied with five separate carved wood blocks, one for each color. The synthetic ultramarine blue pigment had been discovered in 1828 and was very popular during the period.

Chapter 18 of Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners covers paint and paper for historic houses.The 720-page award-winning and best-selling hardcover book is available in bookstores and from online retailers (it is currently 34% off on Amazon! http://ow.ly/N7ba50y4PSL).

Signed copies are available directly from the author on this site, click here: https://yourhistorichouse.com/shop/.

Your local bookstore can order copies from W.W. Norton.

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