Found in two front rooms of a 1777 Newburyport,
Massachusetts house built for Captain William Pierce Johnson, this
highly refined pattern reflects the taste for imported French papers in
the early American Republic.
The manufacturer has not yet been identified,
although other examples of work attributed to the same maker are in the
collection of the Musée de Papier Peint in France. The highly refined
Arabesque pattern suggests strongly that it was executed by one of the
great Parisian manufacturers at the end of the 18th century.
The motifs are a subtle combination of the
neoclassical themes, made fashionable by the then recent excavations at
Herculaneum, combined with traditional florals, a specialty of the
French. The printing and design are precise and of a quality far
surpassing any of the wallpapers produced in America at that time.
The taste for neoclassical French papers
continued from the 1790s right through the first decade of the 19th
century. Neoclassical patterns similar to Adelphi’s Votive Goddess
Arabesque are found in the 1805 Hancock-Wirt-Caskie House in Richmond,
Virginia, and at the Mount in Bristol, Rhode Island, which was
decorated after 1808.
This pattern is licensed to Adelphi Paper
Hangings by the Historical Society of Old Newbury.
Repeat 21¼ inches
Width 21½ inches