|Gothic Revival Reproduction circa 1845|
In the “Classic American Home” magazine, February/March 2001 issue, a feature article on Gothic wallpapers, Gothic Gallery, illustrates our “Westwood Gothic” wallpaper mentioning the 1845 Fisher School as its source. If wallpaper is sold through Waterhouse Wallhangings, we receive a royalty as agreed in our contract with Waterhouse.
Westwood Gothic by Waterhouse is a Gothic Revival reproduction, circa 1845.
History on finding the original 1845 Fisher School Wallpaper.
A large, floor-to-ceiling wooden vent that had been installed in 1882 to prevent carbon monoxide from building up in the classroom was removed for restoration. A large piece of original wallpaper with a Boston maker’s name on the side, Josiah F. Bumstead, was discovered behind the vent. When the school was papered again in subsequent years, the air vent was not removed. They papered up to it, not behind it. How fortunate that this piece showing the original design was preserved and hidden from the fading sun! The unique Gothic arch design of this paper, composed of a four-colored pattern of three arches and a decorative column, was reproduced by an artist, one arch being reconstructed. An interesting development occurred in reproducing the wallpaper. A flaw was discovered in the paper and there arose a dilemma of whether to reproduce the flaw or to take it out of the design. The experts from SPNEA and the Waterhouse Wallhangings disagreed. The decision was to reproduce the flaw as in the original wallpaper, but not in the reconstructed arch. The silk screens were then made, the printing of the paper completed under the direction of Waterhouse Wallhangings, Inc. and the reproduced paper hung over a paper liner base. The wallpaper called “Westwood Gothic” is available through Waterhouse Wallhangings, Inc. with a small royalty benefiting the Westwood Historical Society. Since the schoolhouse was originally wallpapered with such a classic pattern, West Dedham must have placed a high value on education for its children.