The Art of the Frieze

Pendant Friezes featured a decorative border from which stylized "pendants" dropped at regular intervals. They were by far the most popular wall decoration of the Arts & Crafts period. Produced in prodigious quantities by American wallpaper companies, they often came as part of a coordinated set that included a coordinating wallpaper and matching border.

A pendant frieze, border and companion stripe in an antique wallpaper book circa 1910.

Landscape Friezes featured stylized views of pastoral scenery, in harmony with the Arts & Crafts ideal of bringing nature into the home. They ranged from 9" to several feet in height.

"Birchwood Frieze" was adapted from an original by Rene Beauclair.

Floral Friezes were another method of bringing natural beauty into the home. They were often influenced by the restrained Art Nouveau styles of England and Germany.

Glasgow Frieze in forest green with Alise wallpaper.

Borders were used to create panels in frieze, wall or wainscot areas, as well as substitutes for friezes at the top of the wall. In rooms with box beam ceilings, borders were used to outline the individual ceiling panels.

Shown here: Circlet Ceiling is accented by Forest Green Piedmont Border.


Radical changes occurred in interior decoration at the turn of the century, as the nation turned its back on the Victorian age and embraced the simpler cottage styles of the Bungalow and Colonial Revival movements...
As overall wall decorations became more simple, the frieze often became the major decorative focus of the room, as shown in this illustration from Gustave Stickley's Craftsman magazine.

a stenciled frieze as illustrated
in Gustave Stickley's
Craftsman Magazine

Coordinating Wallpapers were usually simple in design, and were used as a balance to the more elaborate friezes and borders in the room. Stripes predominated, followed in popularity by softly colored patterns of stylized leaves.

Springfield Stripe, pictured here, was found in the same pattern book as the Apple Tree Frieze. It is featured in the Arts & Crafts chapter of our catalog.

Art Nouveau Wallpapers were bold in design and were generally hung without companion friezes or borders. They were commonly used in very high frieze spaces above stained or painted wainscots.

Shown here: Thistle in forest green.

Ceiling Papers: The use of overall ceiling papers was quite common and the majority of them featured the soft reflective glow of mica and metallic gold pigments.

Shown here: Faux Gilded Burlap Ceiling

Though every effort has been made, photographs cannot accurately recreate the effects of metallic inks and flat oil pigments. Samples are available to assist in color matching.