Greg Herringshaw

Not So Innocent Foliage Pattern

Efeu [Ivy] appears to be a photographic rendering of a lush growth of ivy consuming a wall. This rendering is more dense than usual but the design of ivy growing up a wall has been a popular theme in wallpaper for many years. Ivy patterns are rather casual, relaxing, non-offensive, a design that is rarely questioned. This design, however, does have a darker side. As with many of Demand’s works, this is actually a reconstruction of his own creation, which was then photographed and manipulated to create a repeating pattern.
wallpaper, foliage, ivy

Robinson Crusoe

I find it interesting that the novel Robinson Crusoe, written by Daniel Defoe in 1719, while not originally intended for a child audience, became the subject of one of the earliest children’s wallpapers. Early children’s wallpapers were designed to be educational and not to amuse. While this book was a novel about travel and adventure and would certainly have appealed to the imaginations of children, it also delivers a strong message of faith. This is the aspect of the novel that would have appealed to manufacturers and parents.
wallpaper, Children, Crusoe, washable, intaglio


The German wallpaper company Rasch, founded in 1897, produced the original Bauhaus wallpapers in 1929. For their 1992 Zeitwande collection, Rasch commissioned eleven different designs from nine internationally-recognized designers, including Memphis Group designers Ettore Sottsass, Nathalie du Pasquier, and Alessandro Mendini, and Czech architect and designer, Bořek Šipek.
Glass, bead, vinyl, applique, wall coverings, wallpaper, Rasch, Bořek Šipek, Czech

Dorothy Draper's Rhododendron

Dorothy Draper is one of the best-known and most-loved decorators of the 20th century. With no formal design training, Draper decorated her own homes and those of her friends before opening her own design firm, Dorothy Draper & Co., in 1925.
Greenbriar Hotel, rhododendron, decorator, Dorothy Draper


Acorn is an early digital print by Francesco Simeti. The format is based on the print room papers fashionable in England in the mid-18th century. This trend began with the pasting of actual prints on the wall, which were then outlined with narrow wallpaper borders. Manufacturers picked up on this trend and started designing wallpaper that copied the look of framed prints. Common views included pastoral scenes and architectural ruins.
wallpaper, frame, print, acorn, Francesco Simeti

Kindergarten Cut-Outs

The Schmitz-Horning Company was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1905 and was known for its lithographed borders and scenic wallpapers. One of its early papers was “Kindergarten Cut-Outs,” the first interactive wallpaper designed for children. These papers were sold as five-foot long panels at a cost of one dollar per panel. The paper in the Museum’s collection is not a full panel­—as you can see, the cat has been cut in half.
wallpaper, nursery, dog, rabbit, animals, lithograph, Schmitz-Horning Company

The House that Jack Built

Walter Crane was introduced to the arts early in life as the second son of Thomas Crane, a portrait painter and miniaturist. The younger Crane was apprenticed to a wood engraver at an early age and also began enrolling in drawing classes. He illustrated his first children’s books in the 1860s, working under Edmund Evans. Children’s wallpapers first appeared in the 1870s and were printed by engraved copper rollers in a monochromatic sepia colorway.
nursery, wallpaper, aesthetic, dog, cat, 19th century, nursery rhyme, children's books

"Arches" from the Mezzotone Papers

Ilonka Karasz (1896-1981) designed in a variety of media, including wallpaper, silver, textiles, and furniture, but was probably best known for her New Yorker magazine cover illustrations. She designed 186 covers in total beginning in 1925. She was the first woman admitted to the Royal School of Arts and Crafts in Budapest. After emigrating from Hungary to the United States in 1913, Karasz became one of few women working in the design field.
mural, trees, birds, surreal, panorama, wallpaper, Ilonka Karasz

Grand Canal

Bandboxes, such as the one I wrote about earlier this month, were widely used in the first half of the 19th century and were precursors to the modern shopping bag. The decorative papers that covered bandbox exteriors were usually very crudely printed with just a few colors and often closely resemble folk art.
bandbox, Erie Canal, wallpaper, block-print, pasteboard, 19th century

Eagle Engine No. 13

Popular between 1800 and 1850, bandboxes were originally designed to store and protect the ruffled and starched collar bands fashionable for men at the time. They were also used for transporting and storing hats and as general carry-alls. Bandboxes were generally constructed of pasteboard, while the more expensive models were composed of wood.
bandbox, wallpaper, fire engine, pasteboard, block-print