Funded Conservation: Silver Studio Stencilled wallcoverings
The focus of this project is 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 by the Silver Studio during the 1890s. They were informed by Japanese stencilling techniques that became available to artists and designers at the end of the nineteenth century.
This conservation work follows 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 proposed 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.
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.
We are very grateful for funding for this project from the Association of Independent Museums. This has enabled us to employ a conservator to treat this collection of materials that have so far been inaccessible, and about which little is known. The conservator will document and research the materials and techniques used to create the stencils, and will develop specialist conservation methods. The project will also potentially reveal links with objects in other collections, such as at the V&A, adding to shared knowledge of these unusual materials.