The Galveston Home Tour pt II

In addition to the beautiful lived-in homes, the Galveston Home Tour always includes a “work in progress” by the Historical Foundation. This year’s home was a cottage that had been badly burned – and I mean, most of it was nothing but charred studs and lath and a roof open to the elements.

In the dining room and front room, some of the plaster walls were still partially intact. I was tickled to see some shreds of wallpaper clinging to them. The paper had to be quite old, as it appeared to be the original paper, since it was applied directly on the plaster walls. The house dated to the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.

Of interest to me:

The paper was installed directly on the plaster walls. Usually there is a “cheescloth” type fabric tacked to the walls, and the paper is applied over that. So this installation was unusual.

The paper was installed directly on the plaster, with no primer. (A sizing could have been used, as it usually was in those days.) There was so little paper left to examine, it was hard to tell, but new plaster, or even cured plaser, for that matter, can bleed or weep, causing stains on wallpaper.

As time went on, a homeowner redecorated. The new wallpaper was applied directly on top of the original wallpaper. Since the plastic coatings of today were not used back then, I think it was OK to do this, since adhesion would be possible because there was no slippery plastic coating.

The original paper was a very plain off-white with a barely-there white or silver design. The second paper had maroon flowers, green leaves, and a sort of geometric pattern.

As I usually note, the colors were as bright and attractive as they originally were. Only smoke had darkened the paper, not age.

I tried to wipe off some of the smoke from a section of paper, and it was pretty successful. This means the wallpaper was durable and washable, and has stood the test of time.

Hand-mixed wheat-based paste was used in those days. They must have added insecticides and mildewcides, as there were no signs of insects have eaten the paper or paste. (Since wheat is a food, bugs will eat the paste off the paper, if no insecticide is added.)

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