Because this is what was underneath the wallpaper.
It's damaged and faded, but SO beautiful. I cannot fathom the decision to cover it up with floral wallpaper. I just can't.
We'll see if it survives. I emailed pictures to a paintings conservator. I have only the bare bones of the education and skill it would take to restore it, but perhaps with some guidance we can bring it back. Here's the worst part of it - the paint came off with the wallpaper. I was so over eager I just pulled. But on the flip side - if I had steamed it, the paint probably would have been more badly damaged.