19th-century woodblock printed wallpaper


The Graphic Arts Collection holds two sheets of woodblock printed wallpaper from the 19th century, both attributed to Zuber & Cie, the French manufacture de papier peints et tissus (Manufacturer of Painted Wallpaper and Fabrics). http://www.zuber.fr/ancien_site/english/menu_photo.html. Located in Rixheim, France, Zuber & Cie continues to design and print landscapes and genre views from locations around the world, so it is not surprising to see these American scenes produced in France.

We are fortunate to have an eight-foot section of French wallpaper from the panorama entitled Les vues de l’Amérique du nord. The scene required 1,690 different woodblocks and 223 colors when it was designed and first printed in 1834. One set of the complete print can be found in Washington D.C., where it “became one of the most publicized of wallpapers during the 1960s when Jacqueline Kennedy had a set, which had been taken form the Stoner house in Thurmont, Maryland, [and] put up in the White House.” (Wallpaper in America by Catherine Lynn, Graphic Arts Collection GA NK3412. L9 1980)

On the second, smaller sheet in the Graphic Arts Collection, we believe the Bunker Hill monument and the Boston State House are visible indicating the view is from Charlestown, Massachusetts, looking across the Boston harbor.


wallpaper7Zuber & Cie [attributed to], [One section from “Les vues de l’Amérique du nord”], no date [1834]. 97 inches long. Woodblock printed wallpaper. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2012.01732. Gift of Stuart Feld, Class of 1957.
1920px-Panoramatapete_Hafenszene_in_Boston_1834Four sections from Les vues de l’Amérique du nord



wallpaper12Bunker Hill monument and the Boston State House.
wallpaper11Zuber & Cie [attributed to], View of Boston Harbor and the Bunker Hill Monument from Charlestown, Massachusetts, no date. Woodblock printed wallpaper. Graphic Arts Collection GC023. Gift of Leonard L. Milberg, Class of 1953.