Historic Findings About Wallpaper

Historic Findings About Wallpaper

Heather Blaha
May 8, 2008

Back during our discussion on vintage wallpaper, Allison1888 linked to an article that chronicles some fascinating facts from a wallpaper excavation in New York's Tenement Museum:

If These Walls Could Talk describes the removing of layer upon layer of wallpaper through the ages, and the analysis uncovered by museum workers is pretty enlightening regarding late nineteenth-century (and beyond) choices. A favorite excerpt:

As successive layers of paint and paper were removed from 97 Orchard Street, it became clear that tenants often took it upon themselves to adorn their own apartment walls.

Either because of landlord neglect or a tenant's desire to express his or her own personal tastes through decorative treatments, wallpapers eventually differed from apartment to apartment. In some cases, up to twenty-three layers of paper were found on the walls, suggesting that the affordability of wallpaper, as well as the high turnover of tenement dwellers, led to frequent re-decoration of the apartments.

Read the full article here.

Any firsthand accounts of wallpaper excavation in your own home?

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