Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Friday, July 24, 2009


I've just picked up a vintage wallpaper catalog for San-Kro- Mura brand wallpapers. I'm guessing the name San-Kro-Mura refers to sanitary, chromatic and mural - colorful mural papers with a sanitary surface (easy to wipe clean). Anyway, the catalog is interesting because it includes an image of one of the panels from the Wizard of Oz paper designed by W. W. Denslow. The catalog only shows a small picture in black & white, but it's a fun reminder of the popularity of the story in the early 20th century - long before the MGM film! In this case, there was a set of six panels, featuring characters drawn by Denslow, relating to the 1903 Broadway musical. A set of verses beneath the drawings sum up the show. This paper was probably designed around the time of that success, although this catalog is from considerably later - it refers to the artist as the "late W. W. Denzlow" (mispelling his name with a Z). Denslow died in 1915, but this catalog could be from as late as the 1920's - there is no date indicated.

The other papers shown in the catalog are also interesting. Among the nursery designs on the same page as the Oz paper are two examples taken from The Rhyme of a Run, a children's book written and illustrated by Florence Harrison, and published in 1907. The Oz paper was probably intended to be used as a frieze around a room, or as individually framed panels. I suppose the individual characters could also have been cut out and used as appliques over another paper.

Artistic wallpapering of the period seems to have involved a lot of steps, dealing with multiple borders and hand cutting details and appliques out of larger sheets to get effects like a pergola with blooming vines, or a tapestry hung on the wall. In order to apply appliques to the first layer of paper, the book recommends adding a cup of black molasses to the wallpaper paste! Having never dealt with wallpaper, I think I'll stick to paint.


Anonymous said...

I am intrigued by your references to Florence Harrison designs in the San-Kro-Mura wallpaper catalogue.
The images are naturally a little too small to be read comfortably and I wonder if you would be kind enough to let me have expanded examples by email for my website www.florenceharrison.com where you can find a simple method of contacting me ?
With grateful thanks in advance
Mary Jacobs

Bill Campbell said...

I dropped a larger image into an email for you - hope this helps!

Bill Campbell said...

I had a note from Michael Hearn concerning the dates of the Denslow wallpaper designs: "By the way, the six Wizard of Oz wallpaper panels ("colored posters") drawn by W. W. Denslow were copyrighted by Schmitz-Horning Company, Cleveland on June 13, 1912 [Nos 15 - 19, 23353-23358; K 44008 - 44013]."