28.12.09

FAVORITE WALLPAPER: ZUBER'S DECOR CHINOIS


'Decor Chinois' by Zuber (Christies)

Wallpaper?  Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it.  Here's an instance of the latter instance,  a hand blocked wallpaper by the venerable firm of  Zuber & Cie, founded in 1797.  The pattern is 'Decor Chinois', originally created in 1832 in imitation of hand painted Chinese papers.  It was especially popular in the first quarter of the 20th century, and has been used by some of the great tastemakers of that era  It was an especially popular paper for Colonial Revival decors.

 'Decor Chinois' in competition with an Italian neo-classical mirror in Edith Wharton's Dining Room  at 884 Park Avenue in the late 19th century.
 
A charming use in the front hall of the Merrick House in Hallowell, Maine, built 1800, as featured in House Beautiful in the 1910's.  The caption gives 'Decor Chinois' the seal of approval.
Enlivening an otherwise heavy handed guest room at Otto Kahn's vast 'Oheka' at Cold Spring Harbor, c. 1920


 Romantically used in the second floor room of the tea house at Martha Codman Karolik's Berkeley Villa in Newport, RI.  The tea house is a 1920's copy by Fiske Kimball of the famous Derby summer house by Samuel McIntire.
  .....And perhaps the most brilliant use of the paper, in the Belfry Bedroom at Henry Davis Sleeper's 'Beauport' at Gloucester, MassachusettsNotice how perfectly positioned the motifs are in relation to the complicated architecture. (photograph by Samuel Chamberlain, from Beauport at Gloucester, the Most Fascinating House in America, Hastings House, 1951)

 
 The paper plays against the gardens below the windows, and forms a foil for the figured maple furniture and lively hooked rugs
 

The almost dizzying array of intersecting ceiling slopes in this room bring 'Decor Chinois' to life. (Chamberlain photograph)
Here the paper is seen in two other colorways, from A.L. Diamant Company, which has distributed  Zuber papers in America since 1885

5 comments:

Scott Fazzini said...

le sigh... I'd be perfectly happy if the walls of my studio were covered in any of those gorgeous papers. Thanks for sharing!

The Down East Dilettante said...

I love the colors on the white background...soft, yet fresh....it would get one through a long winter with blooms

Janet said...

If all wallpaper looked like this, I would use it everywhere. Glad you finally found the images!

columnist said...

I love chinoiserie wallpaper, and especially when it's used sparingly, as in the b&w photo you show where it graces the end of the arched corridor, (photo 3), otherwise it can become a bit too busy (for my tastes), but I've no doubt others would love it that way too.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Columnist, I agree. I actually like this paper best in: The end of the arched corridor, and in the many angled bedroom, where it becomes a bower. It is also wonderful in the teahouse. What the photograph of that room doesn't convey ( I couldn't find a photo of the whole room) is that the room has arched windows on all four sides, in a relatively small space. wonderful effect. In the large Kahn bedroom, it's just hideous----too much of a good thing.