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Lear’s Folly

Unlike other French wallpapers of this period, ones which receive accolades for the many colors printed with steady handed precision, this pattern – found in New Hampshire – was destined for a different market. The paints were thin. The printing registration was somewhat casual. Even the paper stock had been repurposed – the wallpaper was printed on the … Continued

Votive Goddess

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 … Continued

Toile de la Fontaine

The original document for this pastoral figure pattern was found on a French folding screen in Adelphi’s collection. Though printed around 1815 it appears to be based on circa 1780 Continental engraving. Also, it may possibly relate to an earlier textile; certainly it resembles a toile de Jouy. This serene landscape was originally printed on … Continued

Reveillon Arabesque 810

The reproduction of this pattern was commissioned by the Homewood Museum at Johns Hopkins University; the original document is in their collection. While many double repeating arabesques – those with two veritical rows of the pattern per width of paper – use a modest number of colors this one incorporates 14 colors printed with 24 … Continued

Reveillon Arabesque 600

Pattern #600, from the factory of Jean-Baptiste Reveillon, is a most unusual example of a French arabesque pattern. Not only does it exhibit finely detailed block printing but many of the colors are hand painted transluscent washes. Highlights on the allegorical figures are 23 karat gold leaf. No pattern which we have set out to … Continued

Locust Grove Arabesque

During a 1962 renovation, fragments of this pattern were discovered in Locust Grove, the 1790s Federal style home of William Croghan, near Louisville, Kentucky. Though the few surviving pieces comprised only a small portion of the overall pattern, it nevertheless obvious the paper was of a higher caliber than what would have typically been used … Continued


Examples of this pattern have been discovered in Acton and Plymouth, Massachusetts, Suffield, Connecticut as well the House of the Seven Gables in Salem – the sample Adelphi referenced for the reproduction. Comparing several of these documents illustrates the varying skills of early American printers. The original Seven Gables fragments are rather more “casual” in … Continued


This Early American pattern was probably printed in Boston or the Northeast coastal area sometime after French wallpapers had come into style in the United States. Its arabesque arrangement, neo-classical imagery and use of ribbons and peacocks are all characteristic of French papers from the mid 1780s to 1790. The somewhat naive execution leaves little … Continued


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 most likely hung in a hallway though it may have also been used in a parlor or bed chamber. The allegorical … Continued