Interior decoration and interior design of the Victorian era are noted for orderliness and ornamentation. A house from this period was idealistically divided in rooms, with public and private space carefully separated. The parlour was the most important room in a home and was the showcase for the homeowners where guests were entertained. A bare room was considered to be in poor taste, so every surface was filled with objects that reflected the owner’s interests and aspirations–including the walls.
Wallpaper and wall coverings became accessible for increasing numbers of householders with their wide range of designs and varying costs. This was due to the introduction of mass production techniques and, in England, the repeal in 1836 of the Wallpaper tax introduced in 1712.
Wallpaper was often made in elaborate floral patterns with primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) in the backgrounds and overprinted with colours of cream and tan. This was followed by Gothic art inspired papers in earth tones with stylized leaf and floral patterns. William Morris was one of the most influential designers of wallpaper and fabrics during the latter half of the Victorian period. Morris was inspired and used Medieval and Gothic tapestries in his work. Embossed paper were used on ceilings and friezes.
Then there were those spectacular murals.
In Carleton Place I wrote a story about the Burgess house on Lake Ave East. In 1987, when the house was being renovated, it was discovered behind layers of wallpaper there were actual murals painted on the walls. On one wall they discovered a painting of a steam engine travelling through the Fraser Valley in BC with a snowy winter scene with a log cabin. When all the wallpaper was completing removed, the homeowners at the time found several other scenes painted on the walls by an artist. It is believed the artist of the wall murals was a Mr. Grant who was a brother in-law of Arthur Burgess.
Last week I found a newspaper article about more murals that were done in Carleton Place. One has to wonder how many more secret murals there are hidden under the layers of wallpaper of our heritage homes.
March 21, 1900.
Photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place