Friday, 8 January 2016


Walls: Mural, Wood Panel, Stencil, Wallpaper is a survey of decorative wall coverings written by Florence de Dampierre. (The dust jacket adds a further subtitle: The Best Of Decorative Treatments.) After a brief introduction on tapestries, there are substantial chapters on murals, wood panelling, stencilling, and wallpaper.

The chapter on murals includes tempera, Renaissance frescoes, and decorative styles such as Baroque and Rococo. The panelling chapter discusses French boiserie, Italian intarsia (marquetry), and lacquer. The stencil chapter, with a guide to stylistic developments, is especially interesting because little has previously been written about the history of stencilling. In contrast, the history of wallpaper has been covered in much greater detail elsewhere.

Walls has colour illustrations throughout, and many full-page, full-bleed photographs, though it has no index or bibliography. The Papered Wall (edited by Lesley Hoskins; second edition, 2005) is the standard history of wallpaper. A History Of Tapestry (WG Thomson, 1906) was the first comprehensive survey of tapestries, and Tapestry (Barty Phillips, 1994) is a modern history of the subject.

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