Sunday, 16 June 2013

A glance back over my shoulder ...

I just HAD to sneak these in! (I thought it would be ok to look back over my shoulder at the upstairs landing as I was going back down the stairs). The week before last we stripped the wallpaper(layers and layers!)off the walls from landing and down the stairs - and all of these fragments were found after peeling off the last whole layer. It was the very first wallpaper to be hung here - isn't it an amazing pattern!? You can see how bright the blue colour was in the detail pic (which also shows a very fetching crack going upwards from the corner of the bedroom door).

We were so excited about finding the first piece - we did some super speed-stripping and had the rest of this wall done in half an hour  phew!

(The rest of the stairs took much longer - covered in anaglypta, varnish, lining paper, emulsion, gloss paint, plaster, and layers and layers of paper.)

Landing wall - the first layer - found just like this, as if someone had got fed up with stripping it off and just left...

First layer showing details of nature themed and art deco wall papers. Second and third layers respectively.

Bright blue printed detail (and BIG crack)

Nature themed details ... layered over the top

Art Deco paper added at a later date to nature themed wallpaper.

Have been saving this rather gummy fragment of wall paper to add on to this post - found it the other week, when we had got down the stairs and were carrying on stripping the hallway.

We also managed to take down the brackets and pedestals (not shown) from beneath the arch in the hallway, and to our surprise, underneath layers of a distemper-like gunge, there was some details of acanthus leaves and flower. This had all been covered up to make a smooth shape instead - we liked the detail, so S cast some new ones, so we'll always have spares!


  1. How stunning!, and what a visual treat to see so much archaeology in one place. I love the fact that (fortunately) no-one had ever bothered to strip the wallpaper before redecorating; and because of your endeavours, you are the only occupant to have seen all that has gone before you. It’s a wonderful record, I particularly love the first blue pattern, what a bold statement. Does the date of the first design fit with the dating of your house? Is this the wallpaper of the pattern cutters? or would there have been painted walls in an earlier period?

  2. I know - due to their laziness, we have gained much from seeing the amazing paper fragments!
    I've no idea date-wise, but it is the very first layer, over plaster (and it's very thin wallpaper) with no paint underneath, so presume it's quite early, but not sure if it's as early as the pattern cutters. I guess I'll never know. Downstairs in the snug there was the vibrant blue colour underneath everything, but not so upstairs.
    Have added a couple of more recent finds to this post - have a peek, P.

  3. Yet more visual delights! the last bit of wallpaper could almost be contemporary, what great colours. I'm only pleased that Albert didn't touch the decorative hall details. It's lovely making these discoveries, but then there is always the dilemma of what you do with the findings... what will subsequent owners of your house find out about you and S? have you left anything anywhere that can be discovered?

  4. Yes, I admit Albert did do some good things too, despite the use of six inch screws for fixing anything.
    We have just taken off some plaster, back to the brick in the snug (some kind of strange damp) - the bricks are laid quite differently in the wall, both length and end on - proving that the bricks form solid walls, no cavities in between here and next door. We also made a bizarre discovery within the plaster - a bone! S thinks it's probably a chicken bone, about 3 inches long. How on earth?
    S wants to put it back in the wall and plaster over it - so maybe it will be found again one day, by some new owners!

  5. As long as it's not a human bone...! but yes, how bizarre, I agree with S about putting it back - perhaps include a typed note too to add to the intrigue; then however finds it next will have to figure out why someone from 2013 was using a typewriter machine!
    I hope you resolve the damp problem, I have given up - we have odd patches here and there, and often on internal walls which is a bit confusing - it's the downside to living in an older property.


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