This paper contains a repeating pattern of light red poppies against a field of deep red foliage printed on a red ingrain paper. An ingrain paper is one that is colored in the pulp stage of production so the color runs through the paper rather than just being printed on the surface. This gives the papers a softer, somewhat mottled appearance. Also known as cartridge papers, they were favored over printed-ground papers or painted walls which had a very flat appearance. In 1877, James Munroe of Massachusetts patented a process for making ingrain papers and they quickly became fashionable. They remained popular into the 1920s, and found a renewed interest in the 1960s. The color of this paper is a medium-light shade of red, actually the second darkest in tone as evidenced by the paper color visible in the selvedge. The design is printed in three darker shades of red and one lighter pink color. By allowing the paper color to be used as one of the design colors, manufacturers could print using one less roller. It also prevented the need to print a ground color over the paper’s surface which would require the use of a separate grounding machine.
This paper is one sample from a group of 168 that had been removed from three sample books prior to being donated to the Cooper-Hewitt. This is indicated by the standard-size cutting of each sample and the holes pierced. The three books ranged in date from 1906-1908. The manufacturer of these papers is unknown; however, one of the samples does retain the name of S.A. Maxwell & Co, one of the largest wallpaper distributors of the time. Maxwell distributed in such large volume that manufacturers agreed to print his name on the wallpapers. Sample books can consist solely of papers by one manufacturer, or be a compilation of papers by different manufacturers. The trimming of the paper’s selvedge sometimes makes it difficult to determine who the manufacturer is for a given sample.