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The Hamlen Story

A Generational Approach to Chinese Wallpaper

by Tabitha Sabky

Hamlens in their dining room with original Chinese flowers and birds wallpaper panorama, c1940

Hamlens in their dining room at Mainsstone Farm, with original Chinese flowers and birds wallpaper panorama, c1940

"Time has done little to diminish the spectacle of the papers; a liveliness of object and deep saturation of the color..."

Hamlen antique chinoiserie wallpaper, original hand painted on silk c 1840, one of 14 panelsClose-up of original silk hand painted two centuries ago

TABITHA SABKY is a cultural historian, historic preservationist and author of Aestheticizing Identity and Commodifying Place: Chinese Wallpaper and the British Atlantic in the Eighteenth-Century, the award winning master's thesis for the Department of Architectural History at the University of Virginia School of Architecture in 2019. She is also a speaker and planner of architectural and cultural events. 

"The survival of this great piece of history depends greatly on the efforts of Mr. Hamlen and his family to ensure its longevity..."Tabitha_Sabky_Hamlen_Chinoiserie_History_Holly Alderman_1

"-- there is nothing subtle about this paper, it forces one to explore the illuminated topographies of it's visual landscape"

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"Chinese luxury goods had become increasingly synonymous with wealth and good taste within American society more broadly in the 19th century and could offer social capital and value in the home" 

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"The reproductions are significant because they allow a wider audience to be able to own and appreciate the beauty of the historic pieces in their home as their own family asset"

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"The Hamlen Collection certainly remains true to the visual language and reimagination of the past, while adapting to find new meaning in the 21st century"

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Copyright © 2020 by Tabitha Sabky, Etna NH. All rights reserved. No copies or transmissions without written permission of the author. Black and white photo of original wallpaper by Tabitha Sabky. 


First New Limited Edition, Panel 56"w x 80.5h, for niche framing, tapestry, sliding barn doors

















Custom cut for a framed pair