This very fine pillar and arch paper, inspired by
the British architectural patterns of the 1760s and 1770s, is probably
the first American design which features allegorical symbols. Like most
architectural papers, it was probably hung in a hallway though it may
have also been used in a parlor or bed chamber.
The allegorical characters include Britannia
(seated), an amorous couple consisting of a patriot (perhaps George
Washington) and a symbolic "America" in the form of an Indian Princess.
The patriotic figure is handing a document inscribed "4 July 1776" to
the weeping Britannia. The paper may well be derived from an earlier
Philadelphia original where the inscription "4 July 1776" does not
appear on the document. The Cooper Hewitt collection also has an
identical document printed on a white ground.
This pattern is licensed to Adelphi Paper
Hangings by Historic New England.
Repeat: 42 inches
Width: 19¾ inches
The historic colorway image above shows two widths of the
pattern installed. Alternate colorway images show one
complete width of the pattern.