Hand-Stamped Piscene “Leather” Sidewall

Item ID: WH-1110-528C
Style: Leather/embossed
Date: 1900s
Color: Black, Ivory, Red
Type: Framed, Sidewall
Mnfr: M.H. Birge & Sons, Buffalo, New York
Dimensions: 24" w x 27.75" h x 1.5" d (paper: 20" w x 23.75" h)

One of Birge’s most distinctive tooled leather patterns, we have this bold block-printed and hand-finished embossed paper in our collection in both a gold leather and this striking deep red. The gorgeous piscene (fish-shaped) design took on very different looks depending on how it was colored – and it was produced in more than a dozen different colorways and treatments over the years. Sometimes it had a leather texture added, sometimes the background was smooth. Sometimes the medallions formed between the tooled bands were a foreground element, and at others the bands themselves came forward on the wall. A lovely early example of the leather treatments that would become almost de rigueur in high-end homes of the 1905-1915 period.

Introduced in the Birge Book in late 1903 for the 1904 season. Hand block printed over a metallic ground, then embossed and hand brushed to bring out the texture and character of a true leather wall covering. Though very few could afford Birge leather papers at all, the company also produced true leather wall coverings that were beyond the means of even most of their higher-end customers.

A custom wood frame with deep green mat beautifully sets off this piece. Birge Pattern No. 8158.

See the Original Wallpaper Remnant that this Ready-to-Hang Artwork is based on.


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