Theses Master's

American Decorative Stenciling: 1840 to 1940

Marconi, Emma

This thesis analyzes American stenciling from 1840 to 1940 and explores how stenciling mirrored various shifts in society and architectural and decorative styles during that time period. During the Victorian Period, the industrialization of the United States and many of the related changes in American society played a pivotal role in the development of the professional decorator/painter and the use of stencils in decorating schemes. Additionally, this thesis provides an in depth analysis of the development of the painter into the painter/decorator thus creating a demand for the extensive use of stencils throughout the late 1800s. Understanding the significance of stenciled interiors will lead to a better interpretation of historic structures and increase the knowledge and appreciation of stenciling. Ultimately, however, as American society moved from the Victorian era to the Modern era, the preference for simplified and streamlined architectural styles along with a decline in decorators’ abilities resulted in the decreased use of stenciling as a decorative finish.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Jablonski, Mary A.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
February 28, 2013