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Soane Diaper

An entire wall of this diaper pattern was uncovered beneath layers of paint during the initial stages of renovating Sir John Soane’s private apartment, at 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London. While there was more than enough evidence to determine the structure of the delicate design the colors had understandably not fared as well. When … Continued

Rococo Strapwork

Though the specific setting where this pattern originated is unknown it was, undoubtedly, a formal room – a parlor or dining room. As with most successful patterns of it’s type this one illustrates a balance of pattern to open space. One unusual feature is that it may be installed as either a match drop or … Continued

Renaissance Strapwork

Renaissance Strapwork was one of many layers of patterns found in the principal upstairs bedchamber of a Greek Revival farmhouse in Greenwich, New York. The scrolling strapwork is characteristic of the Renaissance Revival designs, which began to appear in the 1840s and maintained popularity throughout the 1850s. The colorway, using a subtle grey on a … Continued


This exuberant paper was discovered covering a wooden bandbox made by Hannah Davis, who worked in Jaffrey, New Hampshire between 1825 and 1855. Well known for her carefully made hat and bandboxes, Davis is also credited with designing a machine to cut thin sheets of wood for the sides of her boxes. The Pinapples pattern … Continued

Persian Volute

This pattern dates from the period when several major shifts were underway in wallpaper design and manufacture. First, it shows the influence of Owen Jones and Augustus Pugin, English designers who were fascinated by ancient and exotic ornament. They were determined to replace the French fashion for overtly three dimensional wallpapers with those that treated … Continued

Hermitage Vine

There is evidence that this pattern was another of those French papers that President Andrew Jackson selected for his Tennessee home (see Hermitage Leaf Border and Hermitage Maple Leaf). Unfortunately, an entire repeat of the pattern has not been found. When the Ladies’ Hermitage Association commissioned a reproduction, historic wallpaper expert Laura McCoy composed this … Continued

Hermitage Maple Leaf

Wallpaper designers often strove to evoke other materials in their patterns. In this example the use of thin tone-on-tone diagonal lines was intended to suggest the appearance of silk. (Another version of this pattern from the same time period enhances this effect by printing the leaves atop a set of irisé, or rainbow colored stripes.) … Continued

Griffin House Sprig

In 1834 Eneral Griffin, an escaped African American slave, purchased a small, 1827 house near Hamilton, Ontario. Whether this paper was already installed at the time of sale or if it was hung soon after is unknown. A precise date is difficult as this was the period when mechanized printing methods began to appear. Certain … Continued

Florence Place Foliate

The Florence Place house is no longer at its original site but at another location in Louisiana. It is not known in which room this paper was originally installed. What is certain is that this “papier peint” is French. Wallpapers imported from France were popular throughout America of the early 19th century and Louisiana was … Continued

Dundurn Castle Gothic

Although it is uncertain in which of the seventy-two rooms of Dundurn Castle this pattern was installed, it seems likely to have been a bedroom or similarly modest-sized room rather than a larger public room. When Adelphi staff first viewed photographs of the fragment – but before we viewed the actual document – we imagined … Continued