(2019) Funded Conservation: Silver Studio Stencilled wallcoverings

This conservation project focused on original Art Nouveau stencilled wallcoverings on paper, grasspaper and textile.  They form part of MoDA’s Silver Studio Collection. As far as we know, no other institution holds similar or related materials, and no other artist or designer experimented with these particular combinations.

These stencilled materials were made in the 1890s.  They were made by the designers who worked for the Silver Studio who were informed by stencilling techniques from Japan.

SW676 Silver Studio stencilled grasspaper

We are very grateful for funding for this project from the Association of Independent Museums. This enabled us to employ a freelance conservator to treat this collection of materials that were previously inaccessible, and un-researched.  The conservator documented and researched the materials and techniques used to create the stencils.  The project also started to reveal links with objects in other collections, such as at the V&A, adding to shared knowledge of these unusual materials.

background to the project

We had some help from Japanese postgraduate student Naoko Nomoto, from UCL’s Cultural Heritage Studies course. Naoko assisted with the initial sorting and reorganisation of this material, in preparation for the funding bid.

This conservation work followed on from a major research project called Katagami In Practice that we conducted between 2016 and 2018, funded by Arts Council England.  That research looked at the Silver Studio’s collection of Japanese stencils (katagami). We believe the stencilled materials within this project were made in response to those original Japanese examples. They demonstrate the Silver Studio’s engagement with Japanese influences in their development of British Art Nouveau.

 

 

Students from Middlesex University’s TV Production course interviewed MoDA colleagues Emma Shaw and Nicola Stylianou about these stencilled wall coverings in autumn 2018:

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