I am delighted to have received a bursary of £500 from The Wallpaper History Society and plan to spend time investigating the interventions (or embellishments) added by the paper hangers of Chinese export wallpapers in the late 18th and early 19th century, with a focus on the Chinese export wallpapers in the archives of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, where I work as a paper conservator.
As a result of previous grant money from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, I have been able to look at the Chinese wallpapers in the Royal Pavilion collection in closer detail while commissioning hi-resolution photography, documenting and rehousing. While I was examining these papers I realised that in many cases the additions or ‘embellishments’ go further than just covering an unsightly join or an edge and in fact can totally change the depth and flow of the papers.
Detail of R6011/3 Chinese wallpaper, Brighton & Hove Museums Collection. Photo by the author.
I would like to compare embellishments on these papers, using those in the archives in the Royal Pavilion as a base and go further afield if time allows. By digitally removing the additions added by the paper hangers, I hope to see if these papers where in fact provided as stock, identical papers. The digital removal of the additions would instantly demonstrate the extent of the interventions of the paperhangers.
Detail of R6008 Chinese wallpaper. Photo by the author.
Grant money will cover my research and travel to other relevant wallpaper collections and archives in the UK where they are not available online.
Amy Junker Heslip