Sunday, October 2, 2011


We were recently asked to look at a water damaged wallpaper. This is a well known but rare Joseph Dufour paper now called "Rives du Bosphore". It is a very detailed wood block printed “panoramique” which is thought to be pre- 1812. These panoramic wallpapers were produced with more than 200 individual hand carved blocks. The panels over the fire place were so damaged they could not be salvaged. There was also toxic mold, which had to be treated. In the initial meeting with the client and designer, Lisa Cunningham of Warner - Cunningham, we all agreed that we could improve the composition by rearranging the elements over the mantel. We were given license to reinterpret using details from the Rives du Bosphore in our own way. While there, we also repaired and touched up where necessary around the rest of the room.

Lena - touching up other parts of the wallpaper.

During the 200 years this wallpaper was in this house it had been changed. The white puffy clouds in the original had been painted out with a deeper gradated tone and the entire mural was varnished. Hence, even if the paper were still available, it could not be replaced. Below is a photo of the original paper from the Zuber archives (Z101).

The first picture below is the original Dufour wallpaper over the mantle, which was damaged. Take note of the fact that the imagery doesn't "wrap" the corner. The installer chose to raise the imagery over the fireplace to make best use of what he had. We were able to use elements of the original mural to create our own composition and make it continue around the corner. (See below)

This is what the wall looked like when we arrived. We chose to have our wallpaper installer, Greg Kahler, cover the wall with Dreamscape before we started so there would be a removable substrate, in case of future water infiltration.

Trying to save the original paper.

And so, we begin.

Doug - adding the first layers.

White chalk indicates where the "wood block" would have printed the paper. We painted each stroke with a brush.

The next few photos show details of the original.

Above is the original, used as reference for our reproduction - below.

The finished room.