An inspired choice of color is easily as important as the specific
pattern when selecting wallpaper. At Adelphi Paper Hangings, each order
is printed individually, allowing us to tailor the palette to the
The primary image of each available pattern shown on this website
depicts its document colorway. For most patterns there are also images
of alternative colorways, which may be either other historic
combinations or samples reflecting more contemporary sensibilities.
The choices, however, are not limited to these examples. Additional
colorways can be devised in any number of ways, including:
- Choosing one or more alternative colors from the Adelphi Paper
Hangings Studio Color Book. The book contains many of the colors we have
formulated over the years, from sedate beiges and greys initially used
as ground colors in the Janes and Bolles collection, to the high pitched
yellows and acid greens from the golden age of French wallpapers. One or
more of these can be substituted in any pattern at no additional charge.
(A "loaner" copy of the color book is available for a $50. deposit.)
- Coordinating a pattern with existing design colors. Adelphi Paper
Hangings will gladly color match to color or paint chips provided by the
clients. (The fee for color matching is $100. per color)
Depending on the complexity and degree of color substitutions it is
advisable to order a strike off, or test print, of a custom colored
pattern before placing an order. Generally, we provide a strike off with several pattern
repeats. The fee for strike offs is $50. per printed color, up to a
maximum of $250.
NOTE: Strike offs are simply a test for color compatibility; the print
quality may be less refined than the final product.
A less expensive alternative to a strike off is a simple "color sketch," which
gives a general sense of how the pattern and the new colorway interact. (Color
sketches will suggest the size and proportion of the color areas of a pattern
but do not reproduce pattern details.)
Adelphi can provide custom reproduction of patterns not in its catalog,
whether from a pattern in the client's possession or from one in an
When considering custom reproductions it is best to contact us well in advance
to discuss the feasibility and costs of the project. A lead time of 4 - 6 months
is usually required to duplicate designs and prepare blocks for a new pattern.
Adelphi Paper Hangings has successfully reproduced
papers which date from the 1740s through the 1920s using original
documents that range from an entire wall's worth of antique wallpaper to
a modest box of scraps still attached to chunks of plaster.
Custom reproduction is an exacting process. Pristine samples of historic
papers do occasionally turn up, but in most cases the documents are
fragmented, faded, and damaged. In these cases, the initial stages of
the reproduction process involve piecing together the fragments in order
to reveal the complete pattern, determine its original width and repeat
length and other period characteristics.
In some cases this process may require research with similar patterns of
the same time period, which Adelphi can do from its own collections or
through its extensive contacts within the historic restoration and
Once the complete pattern is determined, a separate pattern is drawn for
each color, which is then used to engrave pear wood printing blocks, one
block for each color in the pattern.
Identifying and matching the original colors can be just as exacting as
accurately reproducing the pattern since original wallpaper samples
are often faded or, depending on the chemical properties of the pigment,
even severely discolored. They may also have been damaged by water,
But by understanding the fashions of the era, the nature of historic paints, as
well as the muting effect of time, Adelphi can successfully
interpret documentary evidence to arrive at very close approximations of
the original document colors.