AUBURN — The Androscoggin Historical Society will sponsor a program on wall stencils and wall murals by Polly Tarbell Bartow. The talk will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the society’s Davis-Wagg Museum on the third floor of the county building, 2 Turner St.

Bartow is an historian and decorative artist specializing in techniques used in Europe and America during the late 18th through 19th centuries. She does wall murals and stenciling as well as fine decoration on furniture, boxes, mirrors and other objects. She is an award-winning member of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration and teaches from her studio in Biddeford.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when expensive wallpaper became the rage in the United States, itinerant stencilers emerged on the scene to offer an affordable alternative for the average homeowner who could not afford pricey wallpaper. Many men learned the trade and traveled throughout New England and beyond with their kit containing a few stencils, pigments and brushes.

Moses Eaton Jr. is one of the best known and documented of these stencilers working in New England, and many examples of his work survive in private homes and museums.

Bartow will explain the process of attempting to authenticate a family tradition that Moses Eaton did stenciling in their house in Oxford County.

The program is free, although donations will be accepted. FMI: 207-784-0586. Enter the building on the Court Street side. An elevator is available.


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