More on the History of Stenciling

Most stenciling was done between 1800 and 1840, clinic and most was done in the New England area. Moses Eaton Jr. was the most prolific of the early stencilers. He had such an imagination and love of nature and that love was expressed in his designs of flowers and vines. How exciting that his original patterns were found in his old stencil kit!! In the 1960′s, decease many stenciled walls were discovered under old wallpaper by people restoring old houses. Can’t you just imagine how exciting that would be, to be removing wallpaper and finding original stenciling from the the 19th century underneath!! Oh my gosh! This lovely design was found in the bedroom of an 1815 farmhouse off a country road in Amherst, NH. Can you see the green vine with red strawberries along the baseboard? That’s the design I used in Missy’s bedroom. Early stencilers traveled very simply, carrying their brushes, dry pigments, and a roll of stencils cut from heavy paper. They would stencil their designs on attic walls. This stencil’s designs were found on the attic wall of the Josiah Sage House in South Sandisfield, Mass.


Many walls were painted ochre, gray or a raspberry wash, and then senciled with patterns the family selected. The were done in vivid colors like red, black, green, rust and ochre. They painted deep boarders along ceiling lines called friezes, and also along baseboards, and narrower borders to divide the walls into panels where they used central motifs, like large flowers, sunbursts, oak leaves, and woven baskets that contained flowers. These are two original stenciled designs used on walls in the 1800′s, and these are the colors that were used.


For families with more formal tastes, stencilers would paint swags with bells and tassels, even columns and elegant urns with flowers and ferns. They found living through bitter winters were made easier while being surrounded by the beauty of nature on their stenciled walls. These are two examples of original wall stenciled designs found in the New England area. This one is an example of a design done in a home with a more formal decor.


I hope you enjoyed hearing a little history about stenciling. It’s a beautiful way to decorate the walls of your country home. In a couple of days I’ll talk more about it, so I hope you will come back and visit with me, but until then, you know I wish you a-

2 Responses to “More on the History of Stenciling”

  1. rondell konat Says:

    Hi Carloe,
    Very interesting! I can just imagine removing wallpaper and finding neat stenciling:)
    Have a good evening,

  2. Debbie Says:

    It would be wonderful to fine stenciling under old wallpaper. Although my house is old ( 1892, well, old for the west) none of the owers used wallpaper.
    Tell us more, I enjoy reading about it.

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