Vol. 1, No. 4: Bernard Jacqué, His Thesis, and His Methods


The point of this issue is that the material culture methodology of Bernard Jacqué as displayed in his thesis is not only apt - this methodology holds great promise for reviving the study of wallpaper in America.

Previous issues have focussed on the shortcomings of other methods. The methods of material culture are defined here to be sure everyone is on the same page as we head into exploring Jacqué’s thesis - “From the Workshop to the Wall,” also known by its French title: “De La Manufacture Au Mur: Pour une histoire matérielle du papier peint 1770-1914”. 

To aid this exposition we introduce another scholar, the art historian Jules David Prown. It was Prown who codified much of the standard material culture approach in the pages of the Winterthur Portfolio in the early 1980s.

I am aware that a redefinition of wallpaper is also necessary if a renewed project of study is to succeed. I leave that aside until next issue on the grounds that a greater sensitivity to how it is studied - methodology - is also needed. The focus of wallpaper historiography in the US has been essentially wallpaper-as-decorative-art. Another important strand coming from England has been wallpaper-as-social-value. These have been discussed at some length in previous issues.

Vol. 1, No. 4 can be accessed here: