Design for Wallpaper with Alternating Vertical Rows of Pairs of Ornamental Frames of Two Sizes Framed by Interlacing Garlands of Laurel Leaves Tied by a Bow

Designer Anonymous, French, 19th century French

Not on view

Rectangular sheet of paper with a design for a wallpaper from the second half of the nineteenth century, inspired on the style of Louis XVI, forming part of the Neo-Classical Revival that took place in France and Britain from the 1850s on. The style was part of the Classical and Renaissance Revival that took place from about 1850, where the interest on the art and architecture from Ancient Rome and the 15th and 16th centuries was propelled by archaeological discoveries in Greece, Italy and Egypt. Through this style, Classical and Renaissance pieces of art and design were reinterpreted in a variety of forms and motifs, and classical figures, scrolling decorations, strapwork, and grotesques and moresques, became central element in design. This Revival was characterized by the use of design motifs that alluded to Classical Antiquity, including vases and trophies with pastoral attributes, classical figures and cameos, a mixture of real and fantastic figures, and swags and festoons. These swags and festoons comprised garlands of fabric and ribbon, as well as thin bundles and garlands of flowers and husks colored with pastels. The scale of this design is clearly not true to life and it is not unlikely that this drawing was made for a sample book of an upholsterer, to be shown to the customer as one of many different styles to choose from.
The design, possibly for a wallpaper, consists of alternating vertical rows of pairs of ornamental frames of different sizes, colored with tones of yellow to simulate a gold finish, framed by interlacing garlands of laurel leaves tied together by a bow resting under the smaller frame on each pair. The larger ornamental frames contain scrolling motifs, and the smaller ornamental frames contain simplified traces to indicate the design of the inside. The frames are all rendered with yellow, possibly to simulate a gold finish, and the inside contents are colored alternatingly: the ornamental motifs inside the frames in the middle row are colored with brown over a beige ground, and the ornamental motifs inside the frames of the two other rows are colored with blue and red over a gold-colored ground. The ribbon bows decorating the smaller frames are colored with pink, blue and purple, alternatingly. The background consists of ornamental scrolls of pink color over a magenta ground. Traces of graphite can be seen towards the borders of the design. Some of the frames are rendered so that the details are almost complete, others are left incomplete.

Design for Wallpaper with Alternating Vertical Rows of Pairs of Ornamental Frames of Two Sizes Framed by Interlacing Garlands of Laurel Leaves Tied by a Bow, Anonymous, French, 19th century, Graphite and Watercolor

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