The Bees and Stars paper was found on an
early American bandbox, although the bees and
the original colors were almost indiscernible
from wear, except in small protected areas
under the rim of the lid. It is a fine example
of a harlequin pattern, with its inverse
relationship of black and white, which creates
a bold geometric framework ornamented with
bees and six pointed stars.
The pattern dates from the very early years
of the 19th century when the geometric styles
were at the height of their popularity, having
originated in 1800 in France and rapidly
migrated across the Atlantic.
Although there were French émigré printers in
Philadelphia during this period who were
producing papers of similar quality and style
to those of their homeland, this pattern seems
likely to have been imported, as suggested by
the stars, with six rather than five points,
and the use of the ornamental bees, which were
a symbol of Bonaparte.
Repeat 13¾ inches
Width 21 inches
The historic colorway image above shows two
widths of the pattern installed.
Alternate colorway images show one
complete width of the pattern.