Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Wallpaper - Psyché au bain
  • Psyché au bain
    Lafitte, Louis, born 1770 - died 1828
  • Enlarge image

Psyché au bain

  • Object:

    Wallpaper

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1816 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lafitte, Louis, born 1770 - died 1828 (designer)
    Blondel, Merry-Joseph, born 1781 - died 1853 (designer)
    Dufour & Cie (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed in grisaille from woodblocks, on paper

  • Museum number:

    E.696-1937

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Cupid and Psyche scenic wallpaper was produced by Dufour et Cie in Paris as a set of 26 lengths. These would have been hung around a room as a continuous mural decoration, or framed in separate groups as pictures, as with the 4 panels depicting Psyche au Bain (Psyche Bathing) which are in the V&A collection. These four panels are numbers 5 to 8 in the sequence. This wallpaper decoration was designed to illustrate the story of Cupid and Psyche (which comes originally from classical mythology) as given in La Fontaine's Les Amours de Psyche et de Cupidon, published in 1669). Pictures and other decorations depicting Cupid and Psyche were often used as bedroom or boudoir decorations. The interior depicted in the wallpaper is intended to represent a Pompeian style.

Dufour & Cie was one of the leading manufacturers of wallpapers in the early 19th century; the firm specialised in scenic and panoramic designs, especially those with classical subjects. This paper was one of their most magnificent productions.

Scenic wallpapers with pictorial subjects rather than repeating patterns first appeared in France in the early 19th century. They were extremely expensive as they required many separate blocks to print the whole design. The Cupid and Psyche papers are printed in grisaille and sepia, that is in tones of grey and brown.

Physical description

Wallpaper panel from 'Psyché au Bain', the scenic paper illustrating the story of Cupid and Psyche (from La Fontaine's Les Amours de Psyche, 1669); Printed in grisaille from woodblocks, on paper.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

ca. 1816 (made)

Artist/maker

Lafitte, Louis, born 1770 - died 1828 (designer)
Blondel, Merry-Joseph, born 1781 - died 1853 (designer)
Dufour & Cie (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Printed in grisaille from woodblocks, on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Lettered Psyche au Bain. en 4 les and numbered 5-8.

Dimensions

Height: 152.5 cm, Width: 57.2 cm

Object history note

Full scenic wallpaper first produced in 26 lengths by Dufour et Cie.
Seven scenes from the series are in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, W.174, 175-1967.

Descriptive line

Wallpaper panel from 'Psyché au Bain', the scenic paper illustrating the story of Cupid and Psyche (from La Fontaine's 'Les Amours de Psyche', 1669); Printed in grisaille from woodblocks, on paper; Designed by Louis Lafitte and Méry-Joseph Blondel; Produced by Dufour et Cie., Paris; France; ca. 1816.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Oman, Charles C., and Hamilton, Jean. Wallpapers: a history and illustrated catalogue of the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Sotheby Publications, in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982.
Clouzot, Henri. Les chefs d'oeuvres du Papiers Peints. Tableaux-tentures de Dufour et Leroy. Paris, 1931. pls X-XIV.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1937, London: Board of Education, 1938.

Labels and date

'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900'

Four panels (Nos. 5 to 8) from the scenic wallpaper illustrating the story of Cupid and Psyché (from La Fontaine's Les Amours de Psyché, 1669). The complete set comprises twenty-six lengths; an example is in the Deutsches Tapeten Museum, Cassel. These four panels show Psyché in a pseudo-Pompeian interior, attended by five women, one of whom helps to disrobe her as she enters a marble bath. Cupid leans against a pillar on the sill of a loggia in the distance to the left. [1987-2006]

Production Note

Full scenic wallpaper first produced in 26 lengths by Dufour et Cie.

Materials

Paper

Techniques

Printing

Subjects depicted

Bath

Categories

Prints; Wall coverings; Myths & Legends

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.