Last year for the Fourth of July, I wrote about Zuber’s American history panoramics, and this year for Bastille Day I decided to feature their French panoramics: Les Monuments de Paris and Les Jardins Français. Founded in France in 1797 by Jean Zuber, each Zuber & Cie wallpaper panel is still produced entirely by hand using the original hand-carved woodblocks.
Les Monuments de Paris (Monuments of Paris) was designed from 1812-1814. The foreground depicts rustic idyllic life with the Sein River separating the natural peaceful world from the city of Paris in the background. The most famous monuments of Paris are represented in one continuous line – although not accurate in position or scale – which allows the viewer to virtually walk through the city. Notable monuments include Notre Dame (panel #9), Arc de Triomph du Carousel (panel #7), Palais of Luxembourg (panel # 3), and Colonnade du Louvre (panel #14).
Many people are engaged in conversation in this scene. During the first half of the 19th century, people were often depicted in conversation to illustrate various classes engaging harmoniously. This is likely an influence from the French Revolution and Empire eras where so much changed politically in France. After the first half of the 19th century, the scenics were created with less people and more landscapes.
Les Jardins Français was designed in 1821 by Pierre-Antoine Mongin who was employed by Zuber. It was popular at the time to bring the outdoors inside, as nature was no longer a strange and scary adversary but instead an idealized metaphor for sensuality and harmony.
This panoramic depicts a number of figures enjoying the landscape like the “couple galant” in panel #13 as well as a variety of others. The people are in harmonious relationship with one another and with nature at large. Interesting fact: In 1836-37 the costumes were changed to contemporary fashion and some of the characters also changed. (It is now available with or without figures.)
Below are some beautiful examples of Monuments of Paris and Les Jardins Français…
Of note, Monuments of Paris was originally produced by Dufour. Zuber is the last manufacturer in the world to create panorama sets to the board which are classified Historic Monuments by the Ministry of Culture in France.
Zuber possesses over 150,000 hand-carved woodblocks, which were made between 1797 and 1830. Each is classified as a national treasure. Once a block is worn out it is retired, along with its design, as the materials and expertise needed to recreate it is prohibitively expensive. Zuber’s handblocked wallcoverings are truly works of art, and I love the history, tradition, and romance! To learn more, please visit Zuber & Cie. To see Zuber’s historic American panoramics and to learn more about the company, please click here. And for a complete history, you can purchase French Scenic Wallpaper 1795-1865, which was recommended by Zuber & Cie.