“The border around the skylight is handpainted, designed by the owner. It consists of implements of warfare in groups chained together. We see the shield, helmet, sword, bugle, breastplate, etc…” – Ella Kostanzer, January 1, 1900
With these words, recorded 113 years ago, Ella Kostanzer became the only person to ever mention the frescoes painted on the interior of the Lew Wallace Study dome. Lew Wallace’s elaborate Victorian artwork was later forgotten and, eventually, painted over.
Fast forward to 2011, when workers at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum were in the midst of their Study Restoration Project designed to address structural deterioration and water damage inside the Study building. With the Study emptied of artifacts, it was an ideal time to have a paint analysis done.
We contacted Brian Fick and Mary Yeager of Acanthus Arts in Indianapolis. Thanks to their hard work, Lew’s frescoes were partially uncovered.