found wallpaper

Three pieces of eighteenth  century wallpaper were recently found in the attic above the churchwardens’ room. These pieces clearly show how fragile and vulnerable such cloths were. On coarsely woven linen, traces of two painted ensembles can be recognised.

Two of the pieces show a green fond with on top of it a plane division painted with rocailles in shades of blue. In the sections, landscapes can be recognised in shades of green. In these landscapes various figures are depicted: mothers, children and musicians.

After measuring these two pieces, it appears that the large part fits exactly on the west wall of the mirror room and the other part corresponds to the size of the east wall to the right of the mantelpiece. The location of the doors on the covers corresponds to the wall division of the room.

In his book on the Oude Kerk, Janse describes that in this room, above the panelling, painted wallpaper was hidden behind various layers of paper wallpaper that had later been pasted over it. Arcadian landscapes were painted on a blue-green background’. (Janse p. 284). This description by Janse fits two parts of the recovered covers. In his book there are more reports about recovered wall hangings. He mentions, for example, that there was a painted wallpaper in ‘the reception room’: ‘A grey vase is painted on a cream background in the centre section, and two flaming hearts in blood red within a rosette in the left section. In the right-hand section, a rosette encloses an arch with a quiver. [Under each rosette, two smaller vases are painted, connected by a garland. The whole is entwined with tendrils and blue and rose-red flowers.’ (Janse p. 285) The symbolism of the attributes corresponds to the function of the room where they were found, which was used for wedding receptions in the 18th century. The covers were rolled up along wooden slats with the visible side inwards. For a painting, this is a dramatic way to roll up the canvas. In order to preserve the painting, it should be rolled up with the visible side outwards and preferably on a roller with a large diameter. So that the canvas has to undergo as little bending as possible.

We are currently considering how and where these canvases can be properly preserved. The preservation work that would be needed is also being considered.

It is not clear where the wallpaper decorated with flowers that was mounted in the mirror room during the restoration after 1977 was found. In any case, it was found elsewhere in the Oude Kerk and made to measure for this room. Old recordings of the wallpaper indicate that it came from the former sexton’s office of the Oude Kerk, and mention a cupboard wall in the sacristy as the place where it was found.