A French vision of India

Detail of the Dufour wallpaper at Attingham Park. ©NTPL/John Hammond

In response to the previous post, fellow blogger Janet Blyberg told me that The Down East Dilettante had also written about Zuber panoramic wallpapers. Here is his post on the Zuber ‘Décor Chinois’ pattern.

The eighth Lord Berwick. ©National Trust

I am not aware of any other Zuber wallpapers at National Trust houses, but I have found an image of a Dufour wallpaper with Indian views at Attingham Park, Shropshire. The paper dates from about 1815, but was purchased for Attingham by Thomas Noel-Hill, eighth Baron Berwick, who inherited the house and estate in 1897.

Portrait of Caroline Murat (1782-1832) by Louis Ducis (1775-1847), purchased by the eighth Lord Berwick. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Lord Berwick entered the diplomatic service and was posted to Paris in 1903. He became fascinated by French decorative and fine art and bought a number of pieces for Attingham. He probably appreciated the Dufour wallpaper primarily as an example of French design, rather than as a vision of India (see the previous post). 

The Drawing Room at Attingham, with the portrait of Caroline Murat on the back wall. ©NTPL/James Mortimer

Lord Berwick’s wife Theresa (née Hulton) had grown up in cosmopolitan circles in Italy which included Sickert, Sargent, Browning and Berenson.

Another view of the Drawing Room. The figure of Venus by Canova was also acquired by the eighth Lord Berwick. ©NTPL/James Mortimer

Lord and Lady Berwick themselves also entertained artists, writers and musicians at Attingham. The continental artistc influences extended to the Attingham home farm, where calves were named Picasso, Gaugin and Matisse.

4 Responses to “A French vision of India”

  1. Janet Says:

    Emile ~ I am surprised there are no other Zuber papers in NT houses! But I suppose in the Sates the papers became stylish as a result of the Colonial Revival craze, which was obviously not a phenomenon in the UK. I do love seeing the Dufour paper at Attingham. And the portrait of Caroline Murat.

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes panoramic wallpapers don’t seem to have caught on as much in Britain as they did in America – and it is interesting that both the Basildon and the Attingham examples were installed in the twentieth century.

    The third Lord Berwick was ambassador at the court of the picturesquely named Two Sicilies in the 1820s, and he lived in the Palazzo Belvedere in Naples which had formerly been inhabited by Caroline Murat. He acquired some of her furniture and ceramics which are still at Attingham, so the eighth Lord Berwick was building on that with the purchase of the portrait.

  3. downeastdilettante Says:

    The papers were immensely popular here in the States, both in the early 19th century, and again, as Janet notes, in the Colonial Revival of the early 20th century.

    I imagine that the early 19th century popularity here had much to do with both the thirst of a young country for sophisticated products from Europe, and the desire to decorate and have murals. True scenic painters were few and far between, unlike in Europe, and most fresco and mural attempts here in that early era in our country were naive and primitive—although charming as viewed through 21st century eyes.

    Then, in the early 20th century, when interest in things early American was renewed, they once again became popular, and sometimes it seems that hardly a grand dining room lacked a scenic paper. The Vues d’Amerique, needless to say, were most popular of all in this revival.

    Also I wanted to point out this paper, Les Incas, as it appears in a dining room in an old post of mine: http://thedowneastdilettante.blogspot.com/2010/01/moving-houses-spite-house.html

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thanks for that, I am always fascinated by the motivations behind a particular style or fashion. And that also helps to set the wallpaper at Attingham in context: as being consistent with the cosmopolitan atmosphere prevailing there during the first half of the twentieth century.

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