This sample book for the Paisley Collection is characteristic of the historic revivalism that was popular in the late 1960s. As the title suggests, all the designs are variations on the paisley motif. While many of the patterns show traditional styling, the designs have all been reinterpreted with a 1960s edge. The colors are vibrant, almost fluorescent, and the screenprinting and flocking on Mylar, vinyl and foil add new depth with a contemporary twist. The collection contains eight different designs with each shown in multiple colorways. The use of paisley patterns on wallpaper became very popular at this time and while this collection was introduced in 1966, it remained popular until at least 1974.

The paisley motif originated in Iran nearly two thousand years ago and imports from the East India Company in the early 17th century helped spread the design to Western markets where it became popular during the 18th and 19th centuries. The paisley motif has long been popular on textiles and while it shows up on a few wallpapers around 1900 it made its big splash during the 1960s appearing in all manner of large-scale, boldly colored designs for the wall.

The Paisley Collection was produced by Manuscreens, Inc., a New York-based company founded in the 1950s by Morton Jonap. Manuscreens was one of only a few companies that designed, produced, and sold their own wallcoverings, which allowed for optimal color and ground customization.
The museum’s collection contains a number of wallpapers containing designs showing a historic revival influence. Other styles that obtained a renewed popularity at this time include art nouveau, art deco and the designs of William Morris, as seen in Larkspur, above, designed in 1874. Whether reprinting the designs from the original woodblocks or just using these early designs as inspiration most of the 1960s prints were updated with bright colors reflecting the current trend.

2 thoughts on “New Twist on an Old Motif

I have 2 full rolls of Manuscreens wallpaper and remnants of 2 other designs still in its original cardboard packaging tube that I’ve been holding onto since I acquired it from my grandmother years ago. She was going to throw it away. It was just too beautiful for that to happen. I’d love to send you pictures. I want to install it in my home but I’m scared I’ll move and never see it again;)

Wondering if you have any information on Fabric made by Manuscreens, Inc. ? I have a gorgeous ‘Jacobean’ style fabric with a Tilset Finish.

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