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News New England and Beyond


ABOVE French Wallpaper, c. 1785

BELOW Trompe l'oeil Tea Cakes.

Photograph by David Carmack

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ABOVE Television host Bob Vila with interior designer Leslie Curtis.

World Wide Wallpaper
( *see first image of left column )
SPNEA's internationally significant collection of historic wallpapers, long an important resource for researchers, curators, and designers, is now available to anyone with Internet access at SPNEA's website, Over 9,000 items have been catalogued and digitally photographed for the searchable and cross-referenced database. Users will be able to browse through the extensive illustrated catalogue, identify papers produced during a specific time period, view historic photographs of papered rooms, or look for papers by country of origin, manufacturer, pattern, printing type, date, and style. They can gather helpful information on preserving and caring for historic wallpaper, find links to commercial reproduction wallpaper suppliers, and learn about other wallpaper collections. The multi-year project was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

SPNEA Cooking Up Trompe l'oeil Tea Cakes
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SPNEA Collections Manager Julie Solz has a hidden talent-she's a master chef of faux food. Julie recently prepared a dozen eighteenth-century-style tea cakes for the tea party setting at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm (p.3), using disks of Ethafoam painted with acrylics, frosted with a coat of spackle, and sugared with ground up pastels. The food must be permanent, chemically stable, and without any ingredients that would attract pests or harm museum objects. "There aren't a lot of recipes for faux food out there," she says. "Ideally, you start with an original image to copy and then figure out what materials you can use to replicate the form, color, and texture of the real thing. For the Boardman Parlor we referred to cakes depicted in a still-life painting by Raphaelle Peale."

On the Air with Historic New England
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Television host Bob Vila and interior designer Leslie Curtis recently chose reproductions of SPNEA items for a colonial-style house in Centerville, Massachusetts, filmed for the program Bob Vila's Home Again. The house featured architectural details inspired by millwork at SPNEA's Winslow Crocker House, Yarmouthport, Massachusetts, as well as selected reproduction pieces by Southwood Furniture and fabrics and wallpapers by Brunschwig & Fils, both SPNEA Historic New England licensees. For information on the Historic New England collection and reproductions featured on the show, please call (617) 227-3957, ext. 237.

-Compiled by Catherine Mageau, Marketing Coordinator

News New England and Beyond