Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Adelphi Paper Hangings




Many times I am amazed at the vibrancy of color and the intricacy of pattern of antique wallpapers and fabrics. I think that there is a misconception that many of these historical patterns were limited to florals and damasks with an occasional Chinoiserie or Neo-Classical print thrown in for good measure. How untrue! Some of our ancestors, if they had the means, chose to live surrounded by some pretty snazzy patterns.

Adelphi Paper Hangings is a wonderful source for block printed reproductions of historical wallpapers. Many of their clients are museums and historical homes, but they do sell to designers too. Some of the prints do seem a little dated for a modern home, but a majority of them would, in my opinion, fit right in to a contemporary design scheme. How about that fantastic "Plymouth Ashlar" (above) in an entryway? Or the "Hamilton Urns Stenciled" in a powder room? What means the most to me, though, is the fact that there are artisans and scholars whose passion is keeping this part of design history alive.



"Pagodas", English, circa 1763. This Chinoiserie print was used in the Jeremiah Lee Mansion (1768), Marblehead, Massachusetts. The colors seen here are the original colorway.


"Hamilton Urns Stenciled", Boston, 1787-90. According to Adelphi, this print is "one of the earliest examples of American neo-classical wallpaper design." I think the graphic nature of this print makes it a viable print for today.


"Laurel Trellis", French, 1800-15. Think the popularity of Trellis is limited to the 20th and 21st centuries? Well, this print was discovered adorning a wedding box that was made in Paris in 1804.


"Pebbles and Flowerpots", Philadelphia, c. 1810. This wallpaper was hung in the dining room of Pope Villa, Lexington, Kentucky. The grisaille tones and the trompe l'oeil pebble design make this print truly stunning.


"Pineapples", American, c. 1845. Stylish in the 19th c., equally so today!


Image at top: "Plymouth Ashlar", French or American, c. 1805-25. Ashlar papers were characterized by faux masonry blocks that were usually adorned with some type of ornamentation. These papers were generally used in hallways and stairwells (high traffic areas), and when an area began to show signs of wear, a new "block" could be applied over the affected area only. No need to hang new sheets of paper.

24 comments:

  1. The pineapples! The urns! I would definitely use such dramatic papers on a very small room - a dressing room, even a bathroom. I like to embrace the cosiness of small rooms rather than try to lie and say they are bigger than they actually are, and how better than with a gorgeous wallpaper like these?

    http://ayearinmarrakech.blogspot.com/

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  2. Sarah- that's a good point- a very busy print looks best (in my opinion) in a small room. Thanks for the comment!

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  3. I love wallpaper , so glad that it is again so fashion ," tendance" as we say in france.
    Braquenie has some copy very incredible . By the way do you know the Zuber factory ? It is so great.
    mélanie xxx

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  4. What a great resource. So interesting. Love the trellis!

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  5. Melanie- Zuber is one of my favorites!

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  6. Oh! Thanks for the resource! Lovely stuff. :)

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  7. I so agree with you, it is truly wonderful to see artisans keeping design history alive

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  8. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Fascinating post! Many thanks! Do you wonder (as I often do) if the people living back then thought of themselves as "young, hip and groovy" and would be upset if they ever knew that so many young people today think of those people and their houses as "ancient history!" LOL! Just think of some young rich couple with their Latest Style wallpaper! AND I wonder if their "older" friends thought that this new style was "SO tacky" LOL! LOVE the papers and the rich colors -- didn't the folks at Williamsburg have to re-paint and re-do many of their homes after discovering that the original colors were bright and colorful?

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage -- who has NEVER been "young" nor "groovy" LOL!

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  9. Thanks Courtney, Katie, and Ronda!

    Jan- Curious thought, and I think you may be right!

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  10. Circa now!! These prints are fantastic and thanks for the great resource :)

    ~Kate

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  11. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Re the use of "busy prints" in rooms ... Perhaps John Fowler of Colefax & Fowler stated it best, that busy, dramatic patterns are best used in stairhalls, where one is much less likely to get tired of them and where they offer fleeting but glamorous impact ...

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  12. Anonymous- You know, I never thought about that, but Fowler was absolutely correct (as you are too!). Impact yes, but the print can't "beat you over the head", so to speak.

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  13. Jennifer, off-subject, thanks so very much for your comment on flickr!!

    A few years ago, Mary McDonald's smaller home (the one I think we both love from H & G) was featured on HGTV's Homes Across America. I have it saved on DVD and I'm trying to figure out if I can share it (legally.) Probably that's out of the question due to copyright limits and my lack of technical skills :) But we'll see...

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  14. Courtney- Thanks for the info! If you figure something out, let me know! I'd love to see this.

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  15. these are so beautiful, and wallpaper always makes a room look larger, sadly i have always found the prices of adelphi impossible to overcome!

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  16. Rita- I suspected that the prices might be high, but they certainly are beautiful though!

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  17. Great, post, they are all gorgeous - especially the first one. I can definitely see that in an entrance. Thanks for the resource details too.

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  18. They all look fantastic. Thanks for the tip.

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  19. I love the "Pagodas" paper and I totally agree with you that it is commendable the work of these artisans and scholars who are keeping this wonderful history alive. Thank-you for this post.

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  20. As a lover of vintage wallpaper (and tile - I might be the only one) I adored this post (from a not-so remote cabin in Co. with limited communication.) But I really wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the amount of work you are doing. This took a great deal of research and time to put together. And, as a mother of three boys, I know, sometimes, just knowing someone - anyone- noticed means a great deal. I'm sure you know a lot of us do.

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  21. KC- Thank you very much for your kind words; they do mean a lot to me :)

    And of course I'm glad you like the wallpaper too!

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  22. What a find!

    Has anyone noticed that Charlotte Moss used these block print type papers in her new shop? Mostly in the halls and stairways, and in a gray stone like pattern.

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  23. Misterparticular- Yes, I think you're right! There was so much to absorb in the Moss store that I have a hard time remembering everything. I wish I could have taken photos while I was there!

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  24. We are getting married at the Jeremiah Lee Mansion in just a few weeks and I know that paper well. Hopefully our photographer will capture some of the mansions interior charm as well as the gardens.

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