A wallpaper frieze created a transition between the saturated colors fashionable on wallpapers of the period to the pale tones preferred on ceilings. The frieze would suggest the room’s color scheme: a deep red or green tone-on-tone paper below, and a warm tan with a slight sparkle pattern on the ceiling.
A leading producer of artistic wallpapers, Jeffrey & Company commissioned designs from Walter Crane. In 1872, the company introduced the horizontal division of the wall into three sections: a frieze (such as this design) at the top, a filling below, and a dado that ran from skirting level almost to the floor. This block-printed frieze, featuring large stylized trees with a band of clouds above and bluebells below, received praise in articles on home decoration.
This is one of only a few of Karasz’s murals printed in color. The mural shows a romantic vision of rural America bustling with activity, including a family picnicking, farmers working the fields, and one man boating and another fishing in the lake.