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  • Place of origin:

    England, Great Britain (printed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1780-1800 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Etching, coloured by hand with watercolours

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased through the Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 514a, case RK, shelf 9, box R

Single-sheet papers of this kind, with fanciful Western interpretations of Chinese motifs, were produced by British manufacturers from the 1760s. They were intended as a cheaper alternative to the fashionable, but expensive, hand-painted wallpapers imported from China by the East India Company. The composition suggests that this paper was designed to be joined end to end with identical sheets to form a frieze-like decoration, possibly for a music room.

Physical description

An unused oblong sheet of wallpaper with a song-bird in a cage on the left and an unidentified object (perhaps a drum, tambourine or cymbal, with silk bands or tassels attached) suspended by ribbons from a wooden flute. The central motifs are framed by decorative hexagonal borders, and there are other musical instruments including a pipe or flute, and drum-sticks, behind, in the centre, and to the right-hand side. The outlines are etched and the colours painted by hand. It has the Georgian Excise Duty stamp and the number 3 on the back.

Place of Origin

England, Great Britain (printed)


ca. 1780-1800 (printed)


Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Etching, coloured by hand with watercolours


Height: 63 cm, Width: 92 cm

Descriptive line

Sheet of wallpaper with design of bird-cage and musical instruments in the Chinese style. English, ca. 1780-1800.

Subjects depicted

Bird; Musical instruments; Ribbons; Birdcage


Wall coverings

Collection code


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