Saturday, November 19, 2016

Art Essay

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Découpage is derived from the French word découper which translates as “to cut out”. The art of découpage was first practiced as a form of furniture decoration during the 17th Century in both France and Italy. Engravings were cut out, colored, glued to the surface on items of furniture and then “sunk” under numerous coats of varnish or lacquer so that the finish effect closely resembled that of fine inlay work. As découpage traveled through Europe in the 18th Century, it was enthusiastically adopted by of the courts, who amused themselves by imitating the then fashionable Chinese lacquer work. Découpage became popular pastime for “gentlewomen” and it was applied to a wide variety of objects – often made from paper maché - ranging from hair brushes to tea caddies to elaborate panel screens.

Part of a 19th Century English nursery screen decorated with découpage.
Courtesy of reference [1].

The techniques for découpage have not changed much over the years: the only real modification is the quicker-drying varnishes that are now available.

Favorite bird découpage with matching ribbon.
Courtesy reference[2].

Découpage can be applied to virtually any firm and durable surface: wood, metal, glass, ceramic and even plastic are all suitable bases. The objects you can decorate with découpage are numerous – trays, boxes, picture frames, screens, lampshades, bookends and even suit cases!

Autumn leaves have been used imaginatively to decorate this set of traveling cases and hatbox.
Courtesy reference[1].

Some Examples of the Art of Découpage

Rose picture frame in black, red and gold.
Courtesy of reference[2].

Walnut plaque with card decoupage in it.
Courtesy of reference[2].

Some of the work below have been design using an array of colors and images shown below.

Some raw images used to découpage some of the items below.
Courtesy of Diane Dowe and reference[3].

Child’s vintage wooden shoe and shoe tree decoupage with fine strips of floral border.
Courtesy of Diane Dowe and reference[3].

A wooden jewel case decoupage with prints of Persian and Coptic rugs which is further enhanced by the presence of handmade beads.
Courtesy of Diane Dowe and reference[3].

A box exquisitely decoupage inside and out.
Courtesy of Diane Dowe and reference[3].

A turn-of-last century hat box decoupage in Renaissance style with Madonnas and a tall, glass cylinder done in an all-over millefleurs style.
Courtesy of Diane Dowe and reference[3].

A small Victorian scrap-screen has been découpage using photographs from a scrapbook.
Courtesy of Diane Dowe and reference[3].

An 18th Century tapestry print covers an entire box.
Courtesy of Diane Dowe and reference[3].

[1] A. Jeffs, W. Martensson and P. North, Equinox, Oxford (1977).

[2] C. E. Kicklighter and R.J. Baird, The Goodheart-Wilcox Company Inc., South Holland (1986).

[3] K. Healey, Découpage, Harlaxton Publishing Ltd, Grantham (1992).

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