'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, Massachusetts. Notice 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)A.L. Diamant Company, which has distributed Zuber papers in America since 1885