Upholstery Fabrics

The color and patterns of the fabrics that Urban designed and used in the Wormser Bedroom were integral to the interior’s overall design. Unfortunately, no original fabric fragments remained to guide the recreation of the lampshade, hassock, and chair upholstery. Our only clues existed in the black-and-white 1930 photographs of the room; Elaine Wormser’s recollections; the remaining original elements from the room; and knowledge of palettes and patterns that Urban created for other projects at the time. A considerable amount of educated speculation was necessary to realize these fabrics, which were graphically recreated by artist Sarah Walden and digitally printed.

Textile Conservator Chandra Obie Linn removed the later upholstery that was not original to the chairs and replaced it with the new reproduction upholstery that more closely represents Joseph Urban’s original vision. What a difference!

Elaine Wormser’s bed next to a large sketch of her curtains hanging on the wall.
Before producing the wall curtains, a full-scale redesign sketch was printed on paper and positioned near the bed to check for scale and accuracy.

Although the wall curtains behind the bed were missing, they were easier to create because they matched the handpainted taffeta bedcover that remained. Dyenamix, Inc. was able to replicate the cascading flowering vine design based on images of the bedcover. Then, they digitally printed the design on fabric that was color-matched to the bedspread. Considerations to employ new materials or techniques, such as digital printing, were made jointly by members of the project team and on a case-by-case basis with consideration given to aesthetics, quality, conservation, and cost.