• HUDSON, New York
  • /
  • June 03, 2010

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The restored second-floor bedroom wallpaper at Olana.
The Olana Partnership

The Olana Partnership is pleased to announce the opening of the Churches’ second floor bedroom and dressing room, restored to their original grandeur, with historically accurate replica wallpapers.  These rooms have never before been open for public viewing.  This marks yet another milestone in the interpretation of Olana, Frederic Church’s home, studio and designed landscape in Hudson, New York.  The rooms will open to the public on Sunday, June 6 in conjunction with the opening of Olana’s annual exhibition, Frederic Edwin Church in Jamaica: Fern Hunting among These Picturesque Mountains.  The second floor rooms and exhibition will remain on view Thursday to Sunday through October 31.

The most important decorative element on the second floor of Olana is the wallpaper.  In contrast to the distinctive first floor stenciling, on the second floor Church introduced pattern and color by hanging a variety of wallpapers, some exotic and others inspired by European fashion. The Olana Partnership and New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, working with Laura Mc Coy and Adelphi Paper Hangings, have replicated the papers from fragments of the original papers. 

For their bedroom, the Churches chose a pattern inspired by French textiles—the woven nature of fabric is emulated with thread-like lines.  This very ornate pattern of leafy plants and flower-filled urns is interlaced with a gold ribbon.  A large section of the original paper was protected behind a mantel surround and smaller fragments were found under the picture rail.  To recreate the paper, Olana contracted with preeminent historic wallpaper expert Laura McCoy.  Ms McCoy drew the pattern from the original sections and was able to use her knowledge of nineteenth century wallpaper patterns to draw the missing bit of the design.  The newly created silkscreened paper perfectly imitates the original intent because it so closely resembles fabric.


In the Churches’ dressing room, the paper and border were still preserved on one wall. To duplicate the original papers in order to complete the decorative scheme, Olana worked with Adelphi Paper Hangings, a firm in Sharon Springs, New York that specializes in hand block printed papers.  The wallpaper provided a unique challenge.  Frederic and Isabel Church selected a type of Japanese paper called momigami.


The name refers to the unique method by which the paper is made. The process begins with rectangles of kozo (mulberry) paper which were coated with two layers of pigments—in this case a first layer of yellow paint and a second layer of dark blue-grey paint.  The paper is then crumpled.  The top layer of paint detaches in a spiderweb-like design revealing the base color.  In the final step, a printed pattern is added—here metallic gold maple seeds—over the design created by the crumpling.  Church paired the deep blue-grey, yellow and gold momigami wallpaper with an orange, brown, teal and gold Aesthetic movement border of stylized sunflowers—a striking combination.  Adelphi block printed the border paper.  Visitors will be able to compare the remaining historic papers and the newly crafted papers and see for themselves how accurately they have been replicated.  The remaining original momigami wallpaper and sunflower boarder were conserved and stabilized by New York State paper conservator Michele Phillips.

Funding for this project was generously provided by The Felicia Fund, The Cape Branch Foundation, The Olana Partnership and New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Olana is the 250-acre Picturesque landscape and Persian-inspired home designed by American landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900).  Olana’s collection includes artwork, photography, textiles, decorative arts, period furnishings and equipment, archival materials and historic structures. Interpreted in the period of 1890-1900, the site is visited by approximately 170,000 people each year.



Olana State Historic Site is located at 5720 Route 9G in Hudson, NY. The grounds are open every day from 8 am until sunset, guided house tours (reservations recommended) are available Tuesday through Sunday and holiday Mondays, April through October, 10AM-5PM; the last tour starts promptly at 4PM. The Evelyn and Maurice Sharp Gallery is open Thursday through Sunday and holiday Mondays from 11 am to 4 pm. Telephone: (518) 828-0135.  Please check the website www.olana.org to confirm hours 




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