JAIC 2004, Volume 43, Number 1, Article 7 (pp. 91 to 110)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 2004, Volume 43, Number 1, Article 7 (pp. 91 to 110)

INVESTIGATION, ANALYSIS, AND AUTHENTICATION OF HISTORIC WALLPAPER FRAGMENTS

FRANK S. WELSH



NOTES

1. Between 1996 and 1998 more than 275 samples were taken from 11 rooms at Kenmore for micro-scopical analysis as part of a comprehensive investigation of historic paint and wallpaper finishes. More than 33 wallpaper samples were found in the form of either fibers or fragments, some painted, some not. More than 53 preparations were analyzed with polarized light microscopy (PLM) for pigment, fiber, or particle (i.e., mold or starch) characterization. The analysis is documented with more than 90 photo-micrographs. Copies of the report (Welsh 1998) are available at Kenmore Plantation and Gardens in Fredericksburg and at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

2. At Davenport House, microscopical analysis of the pigments used to make the light green finish on the first-floor Hall walls identified white lead, calcium carbonate, barytes, and chrome green, which was not commercially available until after 1820. Chrome green was made by combining barytes, China clay, and chrome yellow with Prussian blue. The result is a very homogeneous mixture that appears microscopically as a green smear, and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the blue and yellow pigment particles (Gettens and Stout 1966). This characteristic is evident on the chrome green pigment from Davenport House.

3. Polarized light microscopical analysis of the Wood-lands Parlor wallpaper's blue-green ground paint revealed that it was tinted with green verditer, a basic copper carbonate.



REFERENCES

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FURTHER READING

Ackerman, P.1923. Wallpaper: Its history, design and use. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co.

Bivins, J., and J. T.Savage. 1993. The Miles Brewton House, Charleston, South Carolina. Magazine Antiques143(2):294–307.

Chappell, E.1995–96John Perry and Williamsburg's wallpaper. Colonial Williamsburg: The Journal of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation28(2):38–41.

Cohn, Marjorie B., ed. 1981. Wallpaper conservation: A special issue. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation20(2): entire issue.

Entwisle, E. A.1954. The book of wallpaper: A history and an appreciation. London: Arthur Barker.

Frangiamore, C. L.1974. Rescuing historic wallpaper: Identification, preservation, restoration. American Association for State and Local History Technical Leaflet 76. History News29(7).

Hitch, N. V., and C. J.Lugg. 2002. Wallpaper documentation and reproduction at Adena: The Worthington Estate. APT Bulletin33(2–3):57–64.

Hunter, D.1943. Papermaking: The history and technique of an ancient craft. New York: Knopf.

Jacobsen, H. N.1994. Hugh Newell Jacobsen, architect: Recent work [1988–93]. Rockport, Mass.: Rockport Publishers, for the American Institute of Architects Press.

Kelley, R.1990–98Wallpaper Reproduction News. vols. 1–9.

Library of Congress. 1968. Papermaking: Art and craft. Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress.

Long, T. P.1991. The Woodlands: A “matchless place.” Master's thesis, University of Pennsylvania.

Maddox, H. A.1945. Paper: Its history, sources and manufacture. London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons.

McClelland, N.1924. Historic wall-papers: From their inception to the introduction of machinery. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co.

McCrone, W. C.1982. The microscopical identification of artists' pigments. Journal of the International Institute for Conservation—Canadian Group7(1–2):11–34.

Nylander, R. C.1983. Wallpapers for historic buildings. Washington, D. C.: Preservation Press.

Nylander, R. C.1995. Prestwould wallpapers. Magazine Antiques147(1):168–70.

PAHS and DCHS. 1983. Sautter House five: Wallpapers of a German-American farmstead. Papillion, Nebr.: Papillion Area Historical Society and the Douglas County Historical Society.

Parham, R. A., and R. L.Gray. 1982. The practical identification of wood pulp fibers. Atlanta, Ga.: TAPPI Press.

Pritchard, M. B., and W.Graham. 1996. Rethinking two houses at Colonial Williamsburg. Magazine Antiques149(1):166–75.

Sindall, R. W.1910. Paper technology. London: Charles Griffin & Co.

Snodgrass, A., and E.Farrell. 1989. The technical examination of an 18th-century wallpaper from the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In The Book and Paper Group annual of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Washington, D. C.: AIC. 8:67–73.

Welsh, F. S.1988. Piedmont: Microscopical paint and color analysis. Welsh Color & Conservation, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Welsh, F. S.1992. Prestwould wallpaper collection. Welsh Color & Conservation, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Welsh, F. S.1994. Belle Meade: Microscopical paint and color analysis. Welsh Color & Conservation, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Welsh, F. S.1998. Verdmont wallpaper. www.welshcolor.com/wallpaper (accessed 7/02).

Welsh, F. S.1999a. Isaiah Davenport House: Microscopical paint and color analysis. Welsh Color & Conservation, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Welsh, F. S.1999b. Oldfields: Microscopical paint and color analysis. Welsh Color & Conservation, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Welsh, F. S.2001. Dunbar House: Microscopical paint and color analysis. Welsh Color & Conservation, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Welsh, F. S.2002. Adena: Microscopical paint and color analysis. Welsh Color & Conservation, Bryn Mawr, Pa.


AUTHOR INFORMATION

FRANK S. WELSH is a conservation microscopist and president of Welsh Color & Conservation, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in the investigation and analysis of historic architectural coatings. He holds a degree from West Chester University and certificates for advanced study at the McCrone Research Institute in Chicago, at Drexel University, and at the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as a visiting faculty member of the Preservation Institute: Nantucket, a summer program in historic preservation sponsored by the University of Florida at Gainesville. He also served as adjunct assistant professor in the Master of Arts in Historic Preservation Program at Goucher College in Baltimore, Mary-land. Awarded a Charles E. Peterson Fellowship for advanced study from the Athenaeum of Philadelphia in 1992–1993, he undertook research on early American paints, colors, and pigments, and wrote a chapter, “The Early American Palette: Colonial Paint Colors Revealed,” for the book Paint in America, published by Preservation Press. His work on historic sites has been featured in both scholarly and popular periodicals, such as Microscope, Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, APT Bulletin, Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Magazine Antiques, and Colonial Homes. He has written and lectured extensively, drawing on 30 years of experience in the field and work on over 1,400 restoration projects.


Copyright 2004 American Institution for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works