Rives de Bosphore by Dufour, 1812
A client purchased a complete set (25 panels) of Dufour’s Rives de Bosphore scenic wallpaper. This paper was from the original printing of 1812 and is it extremely rare to get a complete set of the first edition on joined sheets*. Much like Dufour’s often reproduced Monuments of Paris, it depicts monuments and scenes from everyday life on the Bosphorus river along with the architecture of the city in the background.
When Jim Francis laid out the installation plan for the client's approval, he took advantage of the most high profile areas in the room and also allowed for fixtures and furniture planned for the room. This ensured that the most interesting scenes, or client-favorite scenes, were accorded appropriate exposure.
This room was larger than the full set of paper, so the layout allowed for extending 'sky' above windows and doorways and also included artist-painted extensions of the scene by an additional eight feet, equivalent to five extra panels.
To create the extensions, John Nalewaja and his assistants fabricated paper panels to match the original joined sheets. They followed the plan laid out by Jim to enhance the complete original scenes and created extensions in less high profile areas like corners.
The restoration artist extended the landscape from the the original panels on the newly fabricated paper and then added figures to the new scenes. The extensions blend seamlessly with the original antique wallpaper.
To protect and preserve this rare and valuable scenic wallpaper, the installation team took extra care, triple lining walls with muslin and two layers of liner paper for the best possible surface. After the scene was installed, the artist also in-painted the original panels expertly joining all of the panels, including sky panels used over windows and doorways.
John and his assistants successfully completed a custom installation of an unusual and delicate scenic wallpaper in a very large room, preserving its handmade beauty for years to come.
*Sometimes referred to as 'domino paper', paper used for scenic wallpaper panels prior to approximately 1850 was made of blocks of paper joined together. European papers were joined together every 18-22 inches and Chinese papers were joined in somewhat larger blocks. Prior to 1850, the technology did not exist to make paper in rolls, so long sheets were made up of much smaller pieces of paper joined together, i.e., joined sheets. These papers were delivered to the wallpaper studios in France to make scenic papers that were 10'-12' in height. The joins are evident even after the blocking as horizontal seams in the panels. They are one clue as to the age of the paper.