03 November 2010

Modern Wallpaper of the 19th Century

The center hall of the Beauregard-Keyes House; reproduction circa 1860s wallpaper on its walls
This week I visited an old (by our standards) house in the Vieux Carré of New Orleans,  built in 1826, which has come to be known as the Beauregard-Keyes House, after its two most famous residents.

PGT Beauregard was the Confederacy's first and most brilliant brigadier general, and lived in this house in his post-bellum days,  from 1866-1868, while he was president of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad.   So years later when the building fell into disrepair, its famous tenant helped save the house by attracting the attention of the Daughters of the Confederacy who lobbied for its preservation. 
In the 1940s,  the famous lady novelist Frances Parkinson Keyes bought the house and restored it to its Beauregard-era glory, researching the original paint colors and having custom reproduction wallpaper made.   Keyes took excellent care of this house, wintered there for over 25 years, and eventually died there in 1970, leaving the property to a foundation.  It's now a museum to both the historic house,  and to the amazing woman who lived there later.
And of course it is now reputed to be haunted, so no doubt it is further protected by the spirits of those who came before.

I like the vivid wallpaper in the hall.   A bit odd, to see Victorian wallpaper imposed on Greek-Revival architecture but the mix does work for me for some reason.  It's scaled perfectly - this is a large print and needs to be, as the hallway is over 800 square foot with 14 foot ceilings. The caramel and teal palette, and bold design seem oddly modern to me.  



1 comment:

  1. Love that house and love the wallpaper. I believe it is used also in the Stanton Hall House Library in Natchez,Miss. Please drop by my blog and vist. I am your newest follower. Richard at www.myoldhistorichouse.blogspot.com

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