|Avery Drawings & Archives Collections|
At a Glance
This collection is divided into two series: Series I: Stencils and Drawings and Series II: Collected Material.
Scope and Content
Broken into two series, Stencils and Drawings and Collected Material, this collection includes a variety of visual material and a small amount of written work including meeting minutes of the Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators of America and two educational booklets. The stencils in this collection were organized by the creation of "Stencil Sets." In the process of creating a stenciled surface, Grierson would first draw a design drawing. From this drawing the stencil was cut. An intricate and polychrome composition would require a layering technique that demanded the stencil to be broken up into individual components. Thus, to properly execute a single design drawing, upwards of five stencils might be required. When possible the design drawings were matched with their stencils to create a complete set. Individual stencils without design drawings were grouped thematically.
Comprised of stencil sets, stencil set components, individual stencils, design drawings, drawings, work samples and stenciled surfaces. The stencil sets are arranged from most complete to incomplete. The individual stencils and design drawings are both organized thematically with groupings based on the major elements present in each composition. Like the individual stencils and the design drawings, the drawings are arranged thematically. The work samples are labeled with what each sample is, e.g. ceiling, wall, excreta, with each sample assigned a number. The stenciled surfaces are all grouped together.
The largest percentage of the material in this series is reference material that appears to have been collected by Grierson to aid in the design of stencils. The rest of Series II is dedicated to a non-continuous selection of meeting minutes of the Painters and Decorators of America and two handwritten booklets from the 1920s about science. When the collection was acquired, the pages of minutes were used to separate stencils from one another.
Using the Collection
Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Restrictions on Use
Columbia University is providing access to the materials in the Library's collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of Columbia University is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For additional guidance, see Columbia University Libraries' publication policy.
In addition to permission from Columbia University, permission of the copyright owner (if not Columbia University) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distributions, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. Columbia University makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.
Peter C. Grierson & Co. collection of templates, stencils, sample boards and drawings, circa 1880s-1920s, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
This collection was processed by Vincent Wilcke (Graduate Intern), under the supervision of Shelley Hayreh, Avery Archivist, in 2013.
2014-01-07 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Painter and decorator Peter C. Grierson was born in Scotland in 1864 to Peter and Anna Grierson. Along with his parents and two siblings, Grierson immigrated to the United States in 1867. In the 1880 Federal Census, Grierson is listed as living in Hartford, Connecticut with his parents and five siblings. The 1880 Census records Greirson as an apprentice to an architect and five years later, the 1885 Hartford City Directory lists him as a practicing architect. After 1886, however, Greirson is listed in the Hartford City Directory as a painter and decorator. Experiencing success as a decorator, Grierson was able to establish his own business and the 1897 Hartford City Directory contains an advertisement for P.C. Grierson & Co., Practical Decorators and Designers. According to the advertisement, the company specialized in "Fresco and Plain Painting. Paper Hanging and Wood Finishes. Relief Work and High-Class Decorating.".
A member of the Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators of America, Grierson's archive details that a large part of his business was dependant on the production of stencils for furniture. Samples of stenciled surfaces detail that Grierson worked primarily in the tradition of Hitchcock Chairs. Manufactured in Connecticut, Hitchcock Chairs were an example of early-American massed produced furniture. The chairs were often pieced together using rosewood and then painted black. The black paint was then coated with a binder such as varnish and turpentine. When dry, a stencil was laid flat on the surface and metallic powders were brushed on with small velvet or leather pads. The stencils were traditionally cut into compositions of bowls of fruit, clusters of flowers, and borders of flowering stems, roses, acorns and laurel leaves. Working in the early twentieth-century, Grierson's role in the resurgence of the Hitchcock Chair aesthetic was part of a larger nationalistic colonial-revival movement in the United States.
In 1892 Greirson was married to woman of Irish decent named Mary, with whom he had four children. Grierson died on the 13th of August in 1949 in Hartford.