by Janet Waring
In the first quarter of the 19th century, stenciling was an important decorative art in America, most notably in New England. This book, compiled from the author's first-hand research and from her own vast collection of stencil designs taken from scores of rooms and dozens of pieces of furniture, is the most authoritative source for craftsmen, interior decorators, wallpaper and fabric designers, and students of Americana in search of material on this now-vanished art.
The first part of the book, on stenciled walls (with a chapter on stenciled floors), summarizes the author's finds in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Ohio, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine. Dozens of sites are located and described, and there are full details on colors, popular motifs, tools and equipment, the arrangement of the stenciled elements in each case, the characteristics of particular places and artisans, etc. Part 11, on furniture, is divided into chapters on the Hitchcock chair, composition of the bronze powder most often used in furniture stencilling, techniques, the special designs found on Pennsylvania furniture, stencilling on tin and velvet, and such artisans as William Eaton and George Lord. The author describes and illustrates dozens of trays, couches, cornices, wardrobes, pianos, clocks, boxes, and, of course, Hitchcock chairs.
The text, which includes historical material on Asian and European stencilling, is informative, interesting, and more detailed than any other book on the subject. In addition, half-room views, overmantels, friezes, details of motifs, frescoes, and whole pieces and details of stenciled furniture are illustrated in over 130 plates. 22 other plates show tools, the heavy paper stencils themselves, examples of earlier stenciled objects, and portraits of leading artisans. Seven full-page color plates (one of them reproducing the stencil that graced the book's original jacket) show the authentic colors used on some of the most charming of Janet Waring's important discoveries.
Unabridged reprint of the first (1937) edition. Author's preface. Index. xi + 147pp. of text, plus 166 plates. Paperbound, 600 pages, 7 7/8" x 10 3/4"