THE CONSERVATION OF THE VAN RENSSELAER WALLPAPER
ABSTRACT—The historical background, analysis of materials, and conservation of the 18th century hand-painted van Rensselaer wallpaper is discussed. The paper, which was hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1931, had to be dismantled, conserved, and re-hung, coinciding with the re-building of the new American Wing. Protection of the damaged surface governed the course of treatment, the major aspects of which are described: detachment of the paper from the walls, facing with soluble nylon, removal of adhesives and backing materials with enzymes, and multi-layered lining and mounting on portable panels which can be set into the walls.
THE VAN RENSSELAER WALLPAPER in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is an exceptional example of eighteenth century wallpaper, in that it has survived two centuries with relatively little damage or alteration, and in that it is entirely hand painted. Although the paper was made in England, it takes its name from the manor house where it hung, which was located on the banks of the upper Hudson River in Albany, N.Y. Built in 1765 by Stephen van Rensselaer II, it was the second principal dwelling on the vast patroonship of Rensselaerwyck, lands that had been purchased beginning in 1629 from the Indians by agents of Kiliaen van Rensselaer, a director of the Dutch West India Company.1 The hse which was renovated in 1817 and again in 1843 was occupied by this prominent family until the 1870's when encroaching industrialization put it at the intersection of a spur of the New York Central Railroad and a lock of the Erie Canal. In 1893 it was demolished. In its final days when the van Rensselaer descendants returned to the manor it was only to retrieve the woodwork and the scenic handpainted paper that covered the walls of the grand reception hall. The woodwork was incorporated into two buildings2 and the paper was placed in storage where it remained for 35 years. In 1928 the wallpaper was given to the Metropolitan Museum by Dr. Howard van Rensselaer.
The paper which covers an area of more than 600 square feet (in a room 45′9″ by 22′6″ and 8′ in height above the chair rail) was commissioned by Stephen van Rensselaer around 1765, and executed between that date and 1768 (fig. 1). The paperstainer remains anonymous; however, it is known from the bill of sale given to the Metropolitan that the vast wall covering was purchased through the merchants Neate and Pigou of St. Mary's Hill, London. Also among the surviving documents was the original room plan which was drawn here and then sent to the manufacturer in England. So that the finished work would fit the wall spaces, the plan indicated the room dimensions, location of the six doorways and archway to the staircase, the four recessed windows, and in the center of the plan descriptive titles of the scenes to be painted.
In 1768 when the wallpaper was completed and sent to America the plan was returned with it, now including letter notations to designate the proper placement of the panels in the room (fig. 2). The letters were again written on the verso of the actual rolls of paper, one of which, “L,” was revealed on the back of the Cascade at Tivoli in the course of conservation treatment. Mention of such is also cited in a letter to Stephen from his father-in-law, Philip Livingston of New York, who served as the intermediary agent for the shipment from London to Albany. In his letter Livingston gives both instruction in the proper installation of the paper and advice on the latest fashion in interior decoration:
New York 12 Octobr:1768
I send You by Capt: Van Alen a Box Markd:P. which Contains 4 Marble slabs/which I ordered for You from Holland the Cost of them is as pr: Accot: Inclosed £18..0..1018..0..10 I Also send a small Case Mark:d P. which Contains paper for your Hall which Cost 38̈12̈8-1/2 for both which sum I have debited Your Accot. I wish they may please You, the directions how to place the paper is in the Box & You must take special Care if You Open it to look at, that it be putt up as You found it, with the Letters on the outside I Opened it and think it very Handsome indeed.. I am told You Intend to gett Stucco work on the Ceiling of Your Hall which I would not advise You to do, a Plain Ceiling is now Esteemed the most Genteel I send You Also by Van Alen, a Comyene Cheese putt up in a Barrel with 12 Coco Nutts, & in an Old bottle Case are 5 doz Oranges & a few Limons Your Mother Also sends for Katey a pott sweet Meats we Expect Peggy & Sally Every day the Cold weather with doubtless drive them home very soon-with my Love to Mrs: Rensalaer & the family-I remain
Your Affect. Father
Partial view of the van Rensselaer Room, facing NW, 1980 installation; Gift of Dr. Howard van Rensselaer, 1928.
Original plan indicating placement and titles of the wallpaper panels; Gift of Dr. Howard van Rensselaer, 1928.
Livingston's interest in current English taste is reflected in the subject-matter of the wallpaper: Italianate landscape with ruins or antique statuary, cascading waterfalls, gnarled trees, storm-tossed shipwrecks and various other romantic motifs. But even more than the subject-matter, the general scheme of decoration, of nostalgic, mood evoking scenes surrounded by elaborate rococo borders, bespoke of ideas in interior design that had lately been popularized by Robert Adam and his followers. Whereas Adam had used actual landscape paintings enframed by rich stucco molding, the paperstainer's interpretation was that of painted or imitation stucco surrounding not simply grisaille copies of notable art works, but copies and adaptations of engravings after such paintings, additionally altered in shape and size to fit the available space.
The wallpaper comprises 27 scenic and decorative panels, the largest of which is 8′h by 14′w. Among the large dramatic scenes on the side walls are the Roman Ruins after Pannini, View of Mont Ferrat from a painting by Vernet, and the Cascade at Tivoli by La Croix, the latter two taken from prints by Le Veau. Eight of the smaller scenes find their sources in engravings after other popular eighteenth-century artists. Two of the four cartouches representing the seasons are after prints by Larmessin adapted from paintings by Lancret. Their rocaille borders date from the late 1760's whereas the other borders refer to Issac Ware, a designer who worked in the Chippendale style. Four more panels also with cosmological significance are the trophy panels flanking the East and West doorways. They refer to the elements: earth, air, fire and water, and are from engravings by Huquier after designs by Maurice Jacques, an artist at the Gobelin factory.3 Above the four windows are classical masks bracketed by cornucopias and floral swags, and above the four side doorways are acanthus motifs. The latter replaced designs representing the four quarters of the earth, a change necessitated by the addition of broken pediments leaving triangular shaped spaces.4 Complementing this grand scheme are the woodwork pilasters and spandrels of the arched doorway, considered to be among the finest examples of eighteenth-century carved ornament in New York. The rococo design is taken from Lock and Copland's “A New Book of Ornaments with Twelve Leaves” published in England in 1752, a volume likely to have been found in the library of many colonial gentlemen.5
Although printed wallpaper was in common use by the middle of the eighteenth century, painted wall coverings as the van Rennselaer paper must have been a rarity. Only two other examples are known, that in the Jeremiah Lee House in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and the Harrington House paper in Gloucestershire, England. Although clearly the work of different journeymen, the three seem to have many common sources of design, and all are in the chiaroscuro manner. For many years they, as well as the van Rensselaer paper, were attributed to the workshop of John Baptist Jackson of Battersea, a well known paperstainer active in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The attribution, based primarily on the title of his book published in 1754, “An Essay On the Invention of Engraving and Painting in Chiaroscuro and the Application of it to the Making of Paper Hangings of Taste, Duration and Elegance,”6 has since been disclaimed.7
Unlike the papers that Jackson describes, the van Rensselaer paper is entirely hand painted and shows no evidence of block printing nor is it done in oil. Rather, it is painted in thick water-soluble gum tempera on small sheets of medium weight laid-line rag paper. Owing to the opacity of the paint it is not possible to discern any watermarks. The sheets vary in size: the average is about 17″ by 21″, the largest is about 21″ by 27″, and the small sheets are of diverse sizes and shapes cut to fit the odd corners of the overdoors and overwindow panels. Before being painted the sheets were alligned and pasted together with overlapping seams of about 1/8″ to 1/4″, as was the practice before the invention of machine-made “endless” paper. As Livingston's letter indicates the paper is divided into rolls, each approximately eight feet long. Except for the smaller panels which are defined by architectural elements, the widths of the original wallpaper rolls that covered the extensive south wall are not possible to determine.
The design is painted in grisaille comprising a broad range of blacks and grays, and white heightening; the original background is in a thin but semi-opaque raw sienna/yellow ochre color. The pigments, which are dispersed in a gum binder, were analyzed by micro-chemical tests, X-ray diffraction, and emission spectroscopy. They are an inert carbon black, a basic lead hydroxy carbonate white with a calcite extender, and a finely divided hydrated ferric oxide.8 In the 1870's, for apparently decorative reasons, the raw sienna background was overpainted with a thick yellow calcimine wash.9 This pigment has been analyzed as barium chromate. It has a preponderance of calcite extender, probably added to compensate for its low hiding power. The outer layer has altered in color to a greenish yellow, a reaction which can occur on exposure to light owing to the formation of chromic oxide.10 The wash, which was carelessly applied, covers and obscures the edges of the intricate scroll borders and other parts of the design throughout the entire work.
At a corner on the verso of each of the small sheets of paper composing the panels is an English excise stamp. Based on the uniform location and distance from the seams the stamping appears to have been done following the completion of the work. The stamp is an interlaced G and R surmounted by a crown, the monogram of the four King Georges. Its use dates to a 1712 Act of Parliament that levied a tax of one penny per square yard, increased two years later to 1½ penny per square yard, on all printed, painted and stained papers. There was little variation in the stamp design from 1712 to 1830; thus it is not possible to determine the precise date this wallpaper was made.11
The gift of the van Rensselaer paper and ornamental woodwork and doorways prompted the expansion in 1931 of the small American Decorative Arts Department and the creation of the van Rensselaer Room. There is some information regarding the state of preservation of the paper prior to that time. In 1893 Marcus T. Reynolds, an Albany architect, employed a local firm called Hertz Bros. to remove the paper from the walls of the manor house which was soon to be razed.12 The method of separating the paper from the walls is not known. Nancy McClelland wrote in 1924, that to remove it sheets of paper saturated with water were placed against it, a technique which seems implausible owing to the water solubility of the paint.13 Undoubtedly she believed the chiaroscuro paper to have been done in the printed oil technique described by Jackson; hence soaking it off the walls would have presented minimal danger. It is likely that she in fact never saw the paper. In 1926 first-hand observation regarding the paper's condition was noted by a van Rensselaer descendant, Thomas Hun, in a letter to Charles Cornelius, Curator of the American Wing. The family was settling the estate and wanted to view the paper. He described it as having been rolled up for 35 years and from his examination so brittle he feared it would disintegrate.14 It cannot be determined if the poor state of the wallpaper he speaks of was the result of it having hung in the manor house for so many years, or from problems in removing it from the walls, or from the adverse storage conditions. Significantly, the trophy panels' location on the East and West exterior walls where they were subject to more radical fluctuations in humidity and temperature were the most fragmented of all the panels.
In 1928 restoration of the paper was undertaken by a James B. Wilson of New York. There are no records regarding his very good work; however, it appears that he was responsible for lining all the panels with Kraft paper, as well as using this material continuous with the lining for replacing the many lost fragments. The lined paper was additionally backed with canvas15 and attached to the masonite walls in the museum's van Rensselaer Room, where it remained until 1975. In that year the rebuilding and expansion of the American Decorative Arts Department began. Removal of the paper was made urgent by the impending dismantling of the room; however, conservation was necessary for a number of serious problems demanding treatment: powdery and flaking paint in the original and restored areas, detatchment of seams, separation of the various backing layers from the primary support, heavy losses along the edges, abrasions throughout central and border designs, water staining from a ceiling leak in a corner of the room which had occurred a number of years before, splattered house paint, and above all the need to remove this important wallpaper from the now dangerously acidic and brittle Kraft paper and paste that had been used for attachment. The problems arising from the tenuously held paint layer made the task of conserving the van Rensselaer paper not unlike that of a gouache composition. The problems, however, were considerably magnified due to the vast size of the panels (fig. 3).
Wallpaper panel (Cascade at Tivoli) hanging from supporting wooden rail after separation from masonite wall; Gift of Dr. Howard van Rensselaer, 1928.
The first phase of conservation was to remove the paper from the walls and devise a safe system for transporting the large unwieldy panels to storage and work areas. Because of the danger of flaking paint, the entire procedure was governed by the necessity to avoid bending the wallpaper during removal. The initial step in this operation was to expose the horizontal edges of the panels by removing all molding and woodwork. Where vertical boundaries were not defined by the architecture, seams had to be cut to make the panels more manageable in width (5′, 6′ and 7-1/2′) for handling and treatment. In some instances irregular cuts skirting the scrollwork were made; elsewhere, as in the very large scenic panel, The Roman Ruins, seams were cut directly through the design.
The weak bond between the canvas backing of the paper and the masonite walls facilitated detatchment of the panels. To release the edges small clay-modelling spatulas were used; the more inaccessible central areas were reached with a very long handled spatula made of acrylic, about 2″ by 18″, with a beveled end. The problem to contend with at this stage was to prevent the separated panels from falling to the ground under their own weight. The following system was thus devised. Prior to separating the panels entirely from the walls, only the top twelve inches were released using the tools described above. The exposed canvas was mechanically pulled away from the lined wallpaper and the fabric was then stapled to a wooden strip into which eye hooks had been screwed. These hooks, placed along the top edge of the strip, in turn were attached to nails in the wall. Secured from the top by this supporting rail, the panels thus could be gradually detatched from the masonite, allowing them to remain in place yet hang free until time came to remove them from the room. The wooden supports also served as a means of attaching the panels to side trucks so that they could be transported without bending, and to hang the panels in storage (fig. 4).
A panel (Naples with Mt. Vesuvius in Distance) before conservation. Some old repairs removed in preparation for treatment.
The second phase of treatment after detatchment of the panels from the walls was removing the old mounting materials and adhesive, stabilizing the powdery surface, buffering, lining and cosmetic repair. Removal of the canvas backing proved to be the least problematic step in conservation treatment which was to last over a period of five years. The brittle flour paste facilitated mechanical separation of the fabric from the Kraft lined wallpaper without causing damage to the painted surface. Although the lining itself was not in bad condition, it was held fast by insoluble flour paste aggravated by traces of moldy and gritty adhesive and plaster remaining from the eighteenth-century mounting. On close examination it became evident that much of the wallpaper was severly fractured and it was only the Kraft lining which had held it together (fig. 5). Another problem was that the paint layer was brittle, powdery and water soluble, and readily flaked with any movement of the support, particularly that caused by expansion on wetting. Subjecting the paper to further damage was the uneven surface resulting from variations in paint thickness and the overlapping seams; this set up stresses in the paper when turned face down for treatment.
Fragmented condition of verso of wallpaper with some backing material still attached.
The combination of these factors made it imperative to face the paper. This was the most important procedure in the treatment for it protected the surface while enabling safe removal of the backing and adhesives and also protected it during buffering and lining. A variety of materials suitable for facing were tested. Calaton CB, which is a soluble nylon, was selected because it fulfilled the following criteria: 1) it did not cause any optical changes, that is, there were no alterations in color or value, nor in mattness. This was a crucial issue as the paper had extensive passages of black and dark grey, and any change in refractive index brought about by surrounding pigment particles with a resin would be evident and therefore unacceptable; 2) it consolidated the surface; 3) because Calaton CB is permeable to moisture, it did not exert contractile forces or tensions on the paper thus allowing it to expand and contract. This was of importance for flattening the wallpaper; 4) from our tests and experience over a period of several years with soluble nylon, we found no evidence of this material yellowing on aging. Soluble nylon additionally had the advantage of having sufficient tack in a very dilute solution as opposed to various acrylic and polyvinyl acetate solutions, that were also tested.
The application method for facing consisted of brushing a dilute 1-1/2 percent solution of warm soluble nylon disolved in methanol through lens tissue. The tissue, which was removed immediately, was used only to prevent damage to the painted surface. This brush coat functioned as a consolidant for the powdery paint and provided a tooth for the second application of the solution. After drying, lens tissue was again placed on the surface, and a 1-1/2 percent solution of jellied soluble nylon was now tamped through it. Contact was established by placing a blotter above this, gently smoothing with the hands and immediately removing the blotter and letting dry. Not only was this treatment successful in stabilizing the powdery paint, the penetration was not so deep as to prevent mechanical removal of the nineteenth-century yellow paint layer from the original raw sienna at some future time, if desired.
Following facing, the next procedure entailed the removal of the Kraft paper and adhesive layers from the 27 panels. The outermost surface of the Kraft paper was removed mechanically. For the remaining layers of fiber and other residues a variety of techniques were employed, but ultimately it was necessary to use an enzyme mixture. The most suitable solution for our purposes was composed of pancreatin and taka-diastase.16 This is a broad spectrum mixture, effective both on insoluble animal glues and starch pastes, and having the advantage of working in a wide pH range. It worked so effectively that it was possible to scrape off the accretions after spraying lightly and letting stand about 60 seconds. Although the low pH (3.8) of the wallpaper was not a favorable environment for their viability, as a precaution the enzymes were afterward denatured by swabbing with reagent grade alcohol. Following this the paper was buffered. In order not to saturate the paper, three light coats of magnesium bicarbonate were sprayed on the verso, each application being allowed to dry before proceeding. After five days the pH was tested and registered 6.5. It was not brought any higher in order to avoid additional stressing of the paper from cycles of expansion and contraction.
The facing which had held the fragmented wallpaper together greatly simplified mending the many tears in the support. This was done with Japanese tissue and wheat paste. Many of the inpainted repairs that had been made by James Wilson were satisfactory in appearance and condition, thus they did not have to be replaced. For lining, Okawara paper comparable in weight to that of the laid wallpaper was selected. Water torn sheets, approximately two by three feet in size, were buffered to a pH 7.5. It was necessary to dampen the faced side of the wallpaper for the lining operation in order to equalize the expansion and contraction on front and back. Thus, working on three layers of blotting paper, the wallpaper was sprayed, allowed to relax and then the wheat-starch pasted sheets of Okawara were applied to the verso and tamped down with a sponge. The most difficult problem was the overall size of the wallpaper panels, for no part of a panel could be allowed to dry before all of it had been lined. It was imperative, however, to avoid excessive dampness which would disrupt the bond between the paint layer and support.
After lining, blotters which were carefully alligned to prevent indentation were placed on top of the wallpaper, covered by large glass plates and a multitude of lead weights. The blotters were changed after a half hour, then two hours later, and twice again the following day. Once lining and flattening of the individual panels had been completed, the facing tissue was removed by brushing on a generous amount of methanol and peeling back the lens tissue at a sharp angle. The remaining procedures in this phase of treatment entailed filling losses in the support with cellulose pulp or acid-free paper, repairing detatched seams, and in-painting fills and pronounced abrasions. Severly flaking paint, set down with a dilute gelatin solution prior to facing, had remained intact. Waterstained areas were reduced with water and methanol, and the splattered house paint was removed mechanically with scalpels.
The final aspect of treatment was the installation of the wallpaper in the new van Rensselaer Room. There were two important factors to consider. First was the mounting the paper in such a way that it could be separated from the walls with the least difficulty. Second was the devising of a system whereby the panels could be attached to rigid supports that could be removed from the walls, transported and stored if the need arose. To accommodate this design, a track in the cornice, chair rail and door moldings was built which served to recess the walls above the wainscotting (fig. 6). When the panels were fitted into the track, the upper and lower walls would be flush. It was not financially feasible to purchase light-weight aluminum honeycomb panels as mounts; therefore, medium-high-density plywood panels with paper overlays on two sides were used. Although many of the wallpaper sections were odd-shaped, each of the wooden panels was squared off to as close to the wallpaper size as possible. The overhanging sections were to be pasted after installation. To protect against acid migration from the wood, four-ply ragboard sheets (40″ × 60″) were adhered to the face of each panel. To balance this against warping, four-ply buffered wood sulfite pulpboard was applied to the back. Both were attached with full strength Jade 403, a polyvinyl acetate emulsion.
Tracks behind architectural elements to secure mounted wallpaper panels.
Based on the ease of separating the original canvas backed paper from the masonite walls, it was decided to mount the paper in a similar manner. An innerleaf of 44” wide unbleached cotton muslin was attached to the ragboard with a 30 percent solution of Jade adhesive. Of the adhesives tested, this yellowed least on aging and was the least acidic, promising the fewest future problems to the adjacent materials. Equally important, it was strong, but because it did not penetrate the ragboard deeply it was possible to peel back the fabric without difficulty. The fabric innerleaf also served to obscure the seams between the ragboard sheets, and provided a tooth for attaching the lined wallpaper. Attachment of the wallpaper to the fabric was done with the panels lying horizontally so that adhesion could be established by weighting. Because the aging properties and reversibility potential were the most acceptable, a thick solution of methyl cellulose and rice paste was used.17 This strong adhesive was necessary both because the weight of the individual panels was so great, and because the thick gel-like mixture did not seep into the muslin. Less viscous solutions tended to be absorbed into the fabric resulting in reduced adhesion. The weight and dimensions of the wallpaper panels and the fragility of the painted surface also demanded that they be manipulated and wetted as little as possible; thus the paste was applied only to the fabric. As in the lining procedure, the wallpaper had to be lightly sprayed with water before setting down onto the prepared surface. This prevented buckling and creasing by equalizing expansion of the upper and lower surfaces of the support and the lining. A large brayer, made from a roll of Kraft paper, was used to adhere the wallpaper to the muslin. As soon as contact was established the wallpaper was dried by placing three layers of blotting paper above it, covering these with large sheets of plywood, and finally weighing them down with approximately 20 pounds per square foot. Blotters were changed within the first hour, and twice more over the next 24 hours. When each of the panels was securely attached to its rigid multi-layered support it was installed in the room and any additional in-painting was done in situ.
The long-term environmental protection accorded the wallpaper consists of excluding all natural daylight, illuminating the room only by heat-filtered incandescent lamps, and controlling the temperature and humidity of the environment at approximately 68°F and 50%RH. Although the public is allowed into this room, the passage through it is such that it is not necessary to use protective acrylic sheeting on the walls near the doorways.
The wallpaper has been on exhibition for a relatively short period of time. We, however, have been able to observe it through the five year course of treatment and the results appear successful. In addition to providing a sound lining and transportable rigid backing, removing detrimental residues from the verso, and undertaking general repair and restoration, the powdery pigment has been consolidated without alteration in color or texture. It is hoped the long-term stability and protection of the paper and reversibility of its mounting has been ensured.
I wish to thank Merritt Safford for his advice and encouragement throughout this project, Eric Harding of the British Museum for introducing me to the soluble nylon facing technique, Suzanne Duff and Karl Buchberg for their invaluable work, and the members of the Paper Conservation Department at the Metropolitan Museum for their assistance.
Reynolds, Marcus T. “The Colonial Buildings of Rensselaerwyck,” The Architectural Record. vol. IV, July 1894–July 1895, p. 416f.
Ibid., p. 434. American Wing, van Rensselaer file correspondance from Marcus T. Reynolds, 1931. One was the Sigma Phi Society Society at Williams College, the other the home of Mrs. William Bayard van Rensselaer in Albany. In 1928, Mrs. van Rensselaer gave the museum this woodwork.
Donnell, Edna. “The van Rensselaer Wall Paper and J.B. Jackson. A Study in Disassociation,” Metropolitan Museum Studies. v. 4, 1932–33, p. 80, 90–92.
Ibid., p. 81. Donnell states that traces of under-painting confirm this theory; however, such was not found in the course of conservation.
Ralston, Ruth. “The American Wing: An Addition Containing the Great Hall from the van Rensselaer Manor House,” Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Dec. 1931, p. 8.
In his book, Jackson boasts of his invention of printing in oil with wooden blocks worked by a rolling press which would withstand fading and discoloration as opposed to papers printed in watercolor. The colors “being done in oil will never fly off. By this means the same beauty continues as long as the paper can hold together, whereas that done with watercolors in the common way, six months makes a very visible alteration…and in one year it becomes a disgrace to the very wall it covers.” He also claimed his papers were waterproof and damp proof. The book was published in London, 1754.
Donnell. op. cit. p. 94f.
The iron oxide pigment which also contained silica from the quartz and calcium from the calcite extender could not be determined conclusively.
Donnell, Edna. “The van Rensselaer Painted Wallpaper,” Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, II. Dec. 1931, p. 15
Gettens, Rutherford J., and Stout, George L.Painting Materials; A Short Encyclopedia(Dover), Toronto, 1966, p. 97.
Sugden, Alan Edmondson, and Ludlam, John. A History of English Wallpaper 1509–1914. London, 1925, p. 47–49. Donnell. Metropolitan Museum Studies, op. cit. p. 81for a discussion of this stamp.
Files of the American Wing 28.224. Correspondance dated Oct. 12, 1927 from Reynolds to Robert de Forrest of the Metropolitan Museum. Reynolds wrote that he persuaded Dr. Howard van Rensselaer to salvage the paper.
McClelland, Nancy. Historic Wall-Papers from their Inception to the Introduction of Machinery. Philadelphia, 1924, p. 149.
American Wing files 28.224, Thomas Hun letter to Charles Cornelius, Dec. 18, 1926.
American Wing files 28.224. Estimate from James B. Wilson, 321 East 63rd St., New York, July 24, 1928, “Estimate for mounting of van Rensselaer panels on special prepared canvas for hanging for the sum of $400.00 (Restoration not included).” No other bills or treatment reports concerning the wallpaper exist. Donnell, MM Studies, op. cit., p. 80,81 states that the “paper has twice been remounted, once when it was removed from the walls of the Manor House and again about two years ago.” No evidence of the first mounting was revealed during treatment.
Enzyme solution: 6g diastase, 4.5 g pancreatin to 1 litre deionized water at room temperature.
The paste formulation was 30 percent sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (2.4 percent solution) and 70 percent wheat paste (approximately 5 percent solution).