wallpaper

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1956-42-101 lo res
New Jersey Nouveau
In 1905, the same year that influential architectural theorist Adolf Loos sounded the modernist rallying cry against ornamentation, a small-town New Jersey designer named Albert Ainsworth decided he was going to go ahead and design a highly ornamental, floral wallpaper anyway. Floppy, mustard-yellow poppies grow from spindly fronds of the same color. A muted, green...
1991-89-107 lo res
Happy Hour
The maker and designer of this 1950s American wallpaper are unknown, but that doesn’t stop it from being awesome. Pineapples, chickens and coffee pots mingle happily with martini glasses, menus and big tuna fish. An assertive group of cherries, lemons and limes reoccur frequently, and a self-satisfied sea lion balances a cocktail on his nose....
1991-89-145 lo res
Scenic Wallpaper and the City
The rapid industrialization and urbanization that occurred in the United States during the mid-20th century made many Americans feel nostalgic for a more bucolic way of life. Landscape wallpaper was a cheap and easy way for people to bring a bit of country living to the city. Equally eager for glimpses of nature were the...
Sanitary wallpaper with repeating design of a large ship at sea, framed within rolling waves and dolphins. Printed in blue and green on white ground.
Sailing Around the Bathroom
This design of tall ships surrounded by dolphins in a turbulent sea was first used as a cretonne design, or printed cotton fabric, produced by Steiner & Co. This was published in The Studio magazine in 1899. The design re-surfaced years later as this sanitary wallpaper. This is a classic pattern for a bathroom, a...
1998-75-105 lo res
The Rosetta Stone of Wallpaper?
Pretty and pleasant, this unassuming wallpaper plays an important role in the scholarship of early American design. In 1821 Adrian Janes and Edwin Bolles opened a wallpaper business (creatively named Janes & Bolles) in the bustling industry town of Hartford Connecticut. In the American Mercury, June 1st 1824, they advertised they had an “extensive assortment...
Fanciful, organic shapes, printed in orange, green and pink, on a light blue ground. The large floral motif has a hand-like appearance.
Wallpaper Sure to Come in Hand-y
This machine printed wallpaper features a repeating pattern of orange hands and pink feathers floating down a light blue background like snowflakes – or does it feature flower buds and tiny balloons? Or, wait, maybe it’s actually a portrait of microbes having a party. The only woman who knows the true inspiration behind this funky...
Two columns of scaled dots in pale yellow printed against a background which shades from light to dark orange. The largest dot is printed against the darkest orange. This is the cantaloupe colorway.
Taking Wallpaper Back to its Roots
Infinity is a pattern of dots that scale from small to large back to small, printed in two columns across the width. When seen from a distance the design is slightly reminiscent of crocodile hide. I find a great energy in this crescendo of dots over the ground painted with a mottled finish, and the...
1931-45-59 lo res
The Delicate Balance of Nature
This figural landscape paper contains four different views and is printed in about 13 colors. This is a cleverly rendered pattern with a complicated format that was inspired by arabesque designs of the late nineteenth century. The earlier arabesque designs contained landscape scenes or activities placed upon thin plateaus, each delicately balanced and supported by...
2004-22-1
Britannia in America
The lovely lady featured on this late 18th century panel of wallpaper is Britannia: the United Kingdom personified as a classical deity (think the British version of Lady Liberty). The neo-classical “pillar and arch” design that frames her is a distinctly English style of wallcovering, and she was without-a-doubt manufactured across the pond. Despite her...