• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12036

    Christie's Interiors

    18 May 2016, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 371

    A PANORAMIC OF EIGHTEEN FRENCH HAND-BLOCKED 'ISOLA BELLA' WALL PAPER PANELS

    BY ZUBER & CIE, 20TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PANORAMIC OF EIGHTEEN FRENCH HAND-BLOCKED 'ISOLA BELLA' WALL PAPER PANELS
    BY ZUBER & CIE, 20TH CENTURY
    Each with sequence number and blocked 'Isola Bella'
    13 ft 10 in. (422 cm.) high; 19 ¾ in. (50 cm.) wide, each panel


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    Hand-blocked panoramic wallpapers, such as this Isola Bella design, are incredibly labour intensive to create. Unlike more standard designs motifs are not repeated and so require an exceptionally high number of individual woodblocks, anywhere from several hundred to four thousand could be required depending on the complexity of the design. The blue sky backgrounds are hand-brushed using a method known as irisé, developed by Zuber in 1819, to produce the subtly graduated effect.

    Zuber launched its first panoramic wallpaper, Les Vues de Suisse, in 1806 at the Exposition des Produits de l’Industrie and the company produced several more such panoramic scenes from its Rixheim workshops over the following decades. These wallpapers depicted human activity in settings around the world, providing a glimpse of unknown lands, but from 1842 nature itself became more prominent rather than just the setting. Isola Bella issued by Zuber in 1843 is thought to be the first of these new type of scenes produced, it required 550 blocks and 85 colours to be created. For these new natural scenes, artists specialising in botany were employed to bring these paradisal landscapes to life. Isola Bella is traditionally credited to Alsace artists, Eugène Ehrmann (1804-96) and Georges Zipélius (1808-1890). The beautiful scenery depicted in this wallpaper is inspired by the gardens on the real island of Isola Bella, one of the Borromean Islands of Lago Maggiore in north Italy, which can still be visited today.

    Special Notice

    This Lot is transferred to an offsite warehouse ‘Cadogan Tate’ at the close of business on the day of the sale. We will give you 2 weeks free storage from the date of the sale and after that point charges apply. All other lots will be held at Christie''s South Kensington until 5pm the fifth Friday after the sale. It will then be transferred to Cadogan Tate.