9.19.2012

Vintage Wallpaper Frieze

It's interesting how decorating styles of the rich in past centuries were often admired and then (cheaply) replicated by the middle-class. The more I learn about the history of wallpaper, the more I see this trend. For example, the difference between a frieze (pronounced freez) and wallpaper is that a frieze is meant to run horizontally around a room, usually above a plate rail and came in widths of 9 inches, 18 inches or even 36 inches.  They appeared in the 18th century, but became very popular in the late 1800's through the 1920's as a way for the middle-class to imitate the homes of the rich.  A frieze was sometimes used alone above a painted wall, but more commonly was seen with a simpler style wallpaper, such as a small pattern or stripe. The friezes themselves were very elaborate and dominated the whole wallpaper scheme.


Example of an elaborate frieze.