Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Who Knew That Stenciling Was All The Rage in New England Back in The Day?

I certainly didn't, despite my earlier post about uncovered stencil treasures in our closet. Since then, I've been reminded about the stencil of the horse, over the upstairs bathroom door, and discovered evidence of old stencils under the wallpaper in the upstairs hallway, when the glue finally failed under one of the old strips of paper.

"Examples of original stenciled work in New England can still be found in the country villages and prosperous farmhouses where owners wanted stylish surroundings, but could not easily obtain or afford the costlier wallpapers, printed or embroidered textiles and woven rugs which the stencil patterns imitated. This stenciling was usually the work of professionals. These were traveling artisans who rode from one job to the next with their collection of stencil patterns, dry pigments and stubby brushes.
Wall stenciling reached its greatest popularity in the Federal period (1783–1820s)...At this time, it was very fashionable to define the outlines or edges of patterns and shapes. This can be seen by the
popularity of wallpaper borders, which were often imitated in stenciled wall treatments.
Later in the 19th century, as materials became more readily available and mass production of all sorts of household items increased, two important trends developed. One was that amateurs, including many housewives, began to beautify their surroundings with stencils. The other change was that numbers of women became professional stencilers for the first time." - Holliston Historical Society

As I've said, who knew??