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. Fleur-de-lys motifs also were an important characteristics of designs in the Court of Versailles from the time of Louis XIV on, since they became to represent the Bourbon monarchy in France. 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 frame is flanked on top by a shell decorated with a carmine stone, possibly imitating a ruby, and a cross resting upon it, and flanked on the bottom by another shell-like shape of purple-ish color. Inside the frames are scrolling motifs decorated with fleur-de-lys motifs, colored alternatingly: the scrolling motifs inside the frames of the middle row are colored with red and have blue accents, over a dark golden background, possibly simulating a broze finish; the scrolling motifs in the other two rows are colored with blue and have red accents, over a gold-colored ground. The smaller ornamental frames are flanked above and on the sides by fleur-de-lys motifs and contain two carmine stones, possibly imitatin ruby, adorning them. The inside of the frames is decorated alternatingly: the frames in the middle row contain a rosette of red color flanked by blue leaves over a dark golden ground, and the frames in the other two rows contain small stylized flowers with scrolling leaves of red color with blue accents over a gold-colored ground. Under these smaller frames rests a ribbon bow colored with blue and green, tying the laurel leaves that interlace around the pairs of frames. The background consists of scrolling motifs of pink color over a magenta base.

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, Watercolor

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