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Historic Wallpaper: If Walls Could Talk

Updated on December 3, 2014
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Chazz is an Interior Decorator/Consultant/Retailer, amateur photographer, cook, gardener, handyman, currently restoring an 1880 Victorian.

A Brief History of Wallpaper in Home Décor

Awareness of the extensive use of wallpapers in American home décor from the 18th through the middle of the 20th centuries has increased dramatically in recent decades.

Styles and fashions of wallpaper and how it was used in interior decoration have varied from century to century and decade to decade, but an interest in the styles of the past has long been a factor in the design and production of walllpaper.

The Gothic Revival wallpapers popular in home decorating during the 1830s and 1840s, for example, were based on the architecural wallpapers of the 1760s and 1770s. Even William Morris, often credited with reinventing wallpaper as art in the late 1800s, used motifs and patterns from medieval manuscripts, 16th century herbals, and Renaissance designs.

Today, just about every wallpaper manufacturer offers traditional and even reproduction patterns, but quality and authenticity vary greatly. If you are familiar with historical variations in wallpaper patterns, production methods, popularity, and usage you will better be able to decide which paper is the most historically appropriate for your period home.

Wallpaper throughout History

Introduction

Wall decoration dates back as far as the earliest cave paintings. People have used leather and fabric hung on their walls and windows to keep the drafts out -- and what little heat there was in -- for centuries. By the middle ages, the wealthy were using elaborate tapestries in their castles and palaces for this purpose.

Some historians believe that wallpaper was introduced as a less expensive substitute for tapestries, but we find that claim dubious for three reasons.

First, it is unlikely that paper, even backed with linen as it was in its earliest versions, would do as good as heavy tapestries to ward off drafts.

Secondly, the claim ignores the fact that the Chinese glued decorative rice paper on their walls as early as 200 BC, and developed color block printing prior to the 5th century, predating the European practice by about a thousand years. The Arabs learned to block print paper from the Chinese and the skill had spread quickly throughout the mideast long before it reached Europe.

Thirdly, wallpaper did not became very popular in England until Henry VIII's excommunication from the Catholic Church resulted in a fall in trade with Catholic Europe. Unable to import tapestries and lacking any tapestry manufacturers in England, the English gentry and aristocracy turned to using wallpaper to embellish their living spaces.

Wall fragment with a wallpaper from the 1500s pasted on it
Wall fragment with a wallpaper from the 1500s pasted on it

The Early Years through the 1600s

The Early Years

The earliest known record of wallpaper in the Western world dates to 1481, when King Louis XI of France commissioned Jean Bourdichon to paint 50 rolls of paper with angels on a blue background so that he could take his wall decorations with him as he moved from one castle to another. Unfortunately, none of that paper itself has survived.

The earliest known wallpaper that still exists was discovered in 1911 on the beams at Christ's College in Cambridge, England. It dates to 1509 and features an Italian pomegranate design printed by woodcut on the back of a proclamation issued by Henry VIII. At the same time, across the English Channel, French craftsmen were producing single sheets of decorated papers for the middle-class market. However, these served more as pictures that covered cracks in the wall than a wall treatment or major element of home décor.

In the late 1500s, the first paperhangers' guild was formed in France. Sixteenth century "wallpaper" was either a geometric pattern printed by a single carved wood block or more complicated designs of crests, urns, and flowers printed by several blocks. Outlined designs were printed in black on individual sheets of paper and color was then applied with a stencil.

Flocked Wallpaper circa 1680
Flocked Wallpaper circa 1680

The Seventeenth Century

In the early 1600s, the French introduced flocked wallpaper. Flock is powdered wool or silk left over from the manufacture of cloth. The background color was applied first and the design was then stenciled on with a slow-drying adhesive. The flock was scattered onto the adhesive and a velvet-like pile was left on the design.

Flocked wallpaper that imitated cut velvet was very popular but more expensive. English flocked papers (papiers d'Angleterre) were considered superior to French and fans of the English product included Madame de Pompadour, who used English flock papers in the interior decorating of her apartments at Versailles and in the Chateau de Champs.

Though called wallpaper, the early versions were not attached directly to the wall. Instead, the individual sheets were pasted onto linen and then attached to the walls with copper tacks, with or without a wood frame. Wallpaper borders were used to hide those tacks and did not come into its own as a decorative element until some time later.

In 1675, wallpaper as we know it is considered to have been invented by Jean-Michel Papillon, a French engraver who was the first to print block designs in continuous matching patterns. Individual sheets were joined together in groups of 12 or more to form a roll, enabling faster printing and complex designs.

Chinese Wallpaper from the 1760s
Chinese Wallpaper from the 1760s

The 18th Century

The Early 1700s

Prior to the 1700s, wallpaper was usually used in less important rooms, with the walls in "public" rooms hung with fabric, but with advances in printing and the commissioning of artists to design custom papers, wallpaper was no longer relegated to private quarters and the demand increased.

At first, in addition to flocked papers that imitated cut velvet, trompe l'oeil papers (papers that "fooled the eye") of architectural details, marble, and wood were most fashionable, and were often used with borders depicting swags of fabric or tassels.

In the early 18th century, the most beautiful and extravagant wallpapers in European and the American colonial homes came from China. "Chinoiserie" objects were in fashion and very much sought after. Interestingly, Chinese homes were completely devoid of patterned or painted wallpapers. Scholars believe that sets of painted wallpaper were specially created by Chinese merchants to give as gifts to their European trading partners. These hand-painted papers were much higher in quality than their European counterparts of the time and provided the impetus for improvements in the wallpaper industry, especially in France.

Left: Wood Block Printed Wallpaper with Border. Fragment dates to 1730. Right: Detail of Block Printed Wallpaper from 1755.
Left: Wood Block Printed Wallpaper with Border. Fragment dates to 1730. Right: Detail of Block Printed Wallpaper from 1755.

In 1712, because the use of wallpaper had become so prevalent, the English introduced a tax on paper that was "painted, printed or stained to serve as hangings". To outwit the taxman, wallpapers were being colored by hand after being hung on the wall. Still the industry grew and in 1773, Parliament repealed the tax, but customs duties were still levied.

In the early 1800s, falsification of wallpaper customs stamps was a crime punishable by death. To deal with the tax, English manufacturers sought to increase sales by catering to the masses by simplifying their designs and producing cheaper products.

More about Wallpaper History

The Papered Wall: The History, Patterns and Techniques of Wallpaper, Second Edition
The Papered Wall: The History, Patterns and Techniques of Wallpaper, Second Edition

Readable, interesting - and lots of pictures you won't see anywhere else.

 
1780 Réveillon Style Wallpaper
1780 Réveillon Style Wallpaper

Mid-to-late 1700s

In France

The English tax allowed the French to maintain their firm hold on the high-end design of custom papers. They paid their designers well and produced incredible papers.

Perhaps the most in-demand was Jean-Baptiste Réveillon, who became a "Manufacture Royale." When his Paris factory was attacked during the French Revolution, Réveillon fled to England where he continued to produce his characteristically graceful neoclassical designs for the interior décor of the upper classes.

The Réveillon hallmark was a long vertical arabesque design meant to be hung as panels and featuring urns, flowers, dancing figures, swans, birds and beasts flowing upward from a central motif or medallion. He used strong multiple blocks and strong colors of red, mustard, terracotta, green, and azure.

Réveillon papers were also imported to the U.S. and can still be seen in some period homes.

And in the American Colonies

The earliest documentation for printing wallpaper in America dates to a December 13,1756 advertisement of John Hickey, "lately from Dublin" whose ad in the New York Mercury noted that he he "stamps or prints paper in the English manner and hangs it so as to harbour no worms." In 1765 another New Yorker, John Rugar, is recorded as having begun the manufacture of wallpaper and, in 1769, Plunket Fleeson, a Philadelphia upholsterer who had been in business at least since 1739, ran an announcement about the manufacture of American

"paper-hangings of all kinds and colors, not inferior to those generally imported and as low in price. Also papier mache, or raised paper mouldings for hangings, in imitation of carving, either colored or gilt. As there is considerable duty imposed on paper-hangings imported here, it cannot be doubted but that everyone amongst us who wishes prosperity to America will give a preference to our own manufacture, especially on the above proposition of equally good and cheap."

One of many patriotic toiles that were popular patterns for wallpaper and fabric in the newly United States in the late 1700s.
One of many patriotic toiles that were popular patterns for wallpaper and fabric in the newly United States in the late 1700s.

Prior to the American Revolution, English papers were copied but after the Revolutionary war, patriotic themes were very popular in addition to florals, neoclassical motifs, and traditional patterns.

In 1778, sizes of wallpaper began to be standardized when King Louis XVI of France issued a decree specifying that the length of a wallpaper roll should be about 34 feet.

In 1785, Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf, a Frenchman, invented the first wallpaper printing machine. Around the same time, another Frenchman, Nicholas Louis Robert invented a way to make a virtually endless roll of wallpaper from wood pulp instead of cotton and linen fiber, which also made it less costly.

Two of 26 panels of Joseph Dufour's 1815 "Psyche and Cupid" which was printed in the Grisaille style with 1,500 individual blocks
Two of 26 panels of Joseph Dufour's 1815 "Psyche and Cupid" which was printed in the Grisaille style with 1,500 individual blocks

Early and mid-1800s

The Early 1800s

Until industrialization, the wallpapers and techniques from the mid-to-late 1700s remained popular. Grisaille (meaning they were done entirely in gray tones) murals featuring mythological scenes and landscapes were fashionable additions to neoclassical home décor. These were intended to be monochromatic and create a sculptural illusion. Toward that end, many were strongly shaded to add a dimensional quality.

Circa 1830 French Chinoiserie (left/rear) and1837 English Machine Printed Wallpaper
Circa 1830 French Chinoiserie (left/rear) and1837 English Machine Printed Wallpaper

The Beginning of Industrialization

The first wallpaper-printing machine was patented by the British textile printers Potters and Ross in 1839. Each color required a separate roller, and synthetic pigments like ultramarine blue and chrome yellow were used on rolls of continuous paper made from wood pulp instead of cotton-on-linen-rag fiber, greatly reducing the manufacturing costs.

The scale of the design was also affected by machine printing, as the circumference of the new rollers was relatively small, so the size of each repeat was reduced. Machine printing also made the wallpaper more affordable to the new middle class of the Victorian era, which contributed to the popularity and what some may call the excessive use of wallpaper during that period.

The patterns of this time imitated scenic tapestries, damasks, toiles and patterned velvets. Chinese style papers with fanciful hand-painted birds, trees, pagodas, figures and landscapes, known as Chinoiserie, also remained popular. The finest examples were printed in France and used in the homes and palaces of the wealthy on both sides of the Atlantic.

1806 Egyptian Revival Block Printed Wallpaper Panel with Flocking
1806 Egyptian Revival Block Printed Wallpaper Panel with Flocking

Stripes were popular in Napoleonic France and in England and were not only used on walls but spliced into intricate designs on ceilings. France and England also had a fondness for Egyptian motifs.

Just as the American Revolution had a tremendous influence on architecture and interior design, two other events shortly afterwards also played a role in decorative design. Both Napoleon's conquest of Egypt and his defeat at the hands of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, spurred interest in all things Egyptian in both France and England.

The wallpaper shown here dates to 1806 and even precedes the (1809-1826) publication of the findings of the scientific expedition Napoleon took with him to Egypt.

Not until the discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922 would there be another revival of Egyptian themes in the decorative arts.


Wallpapers for the Rich and Wallpaper for the Masses

An 1830 wallpaper border imitating egg and dart molding
An 1830 wallpaper border imitating egg and dart molding

Faux Architectural Details

Around this time, borders, which had been invented to hide the tacks used to hang fabric-backed paper on a wall, became especially valued because they could visually change a room's proportions. Many were printed to look like architectural details and were used like cornices and to frame doors, windows, and other features of a room. They could visually raise a ceiling, call attention to a window, and generally substitute for more expensive wood and plaster ornamentation. Borders were particularly desirable to use to embellish solid color "plain papers" or painted walls.

10 of 20 panels of the woodblock printed paper “Sauvages de a Mer Pacifique,” designed by Jean-Gabriel Charvet and manufactured by Joseph Dufour
10 of 20 panels of the woodblock printed paper “Sauvages de a Mer Pacifique,” designed by Jean-Gabriel Charvet and manufactured by Joseph Dufour

French Panoramic Scenes

By the 1800s, large scale panoramic scenic papers became popular in France. Unlike murals, these papers were hand printed with an innumerable number of wood blocks and were very expensive. Panoramic papers usually covered four walls of a room from chair rail to ceiling and were joined to create a continuous non-repeating scene that told a story.

In 1852, Zuber, a French company, responded to the nationalistic sentiments in the U.S. by adapting their existing "Views of America" series to capitalize on that. Thus, the view of Boston Harbour became the backdrop for the newly added Boston Tea Party and landscapes became battlefields. The adapted series was known as "The War of Independence" and it became an exemplar of American Federal Interior Décor. Landscapes never became popular in England since they did not accommodate the preferred British wall decoration of ancestral portraits. But the English wallpaper industry was far from idle.

Technological Advances

In 1836, England repealed wallpaper taxation. In 1839, Charles Harold Potter of Lancashire, England invented a four color printing machine that could turn out 400 rolls of wallpaper a day - a pretty magical feat even though we do not know if he is related in any way to THE Harry Potter, but we'd love to find out...(if you read this, J. K. Rowling, please let us know!) This breakthrough enabled wallpaper to be applied directly to plaster. By 1850, eight color printing was available and in 1874, the twenty color printing machine was invented. And in 1888, ready-to-use wallpaper paste was introduced. As technology advanced and production increased, prices dropped and more people could afford to use wallpaper in their homes.

Detail of Elaborate Victorian Wallpaper - In Aesthetic Anglo-Japanese Style

Room detail: Victorian reproduction wallpaper
Room detail: Victorian reproduction wallpaper | Source

The Early Victorian Era

In large part because of the availability, affordability, and variety of styles in wallpapers, the tripartite (three part) style of wallpapering that is associated with Victorian interior decoration came into vogue. The wall was divided into three parts: The dado (bottom two to three feet) wall fill (between the dado and the frieze on the main part of the wall), and frieze (a wide border at the top of the wall). Borders were used to separate each section which consisted of distinct yet related patterns.

Reproductions of Historic Wallpapers shown here are described below.
Reproductions of Historic Wallpapers shown here are described below.

Top row, left to right: Circa 1860 Civil War Era Roses Floral Reproduction; 18th Century Neoclassical Design with Floral Arrangements and Columns; Late 1700s Reproduction French Floral with Butterflies. Bottom row, left to right: Late 18th Century Wallpaper Reproduced from Original Found on the Wall of a Closet in an Old House in Ashford, Connecticut; a Pastoral Toile circa 1800 originally produced by the French factory of Oberkempf; Circa 1780 Neoclassical hand-printed trellis design with a repeating pendant comprised of arabesques, bellflowers, garlands and doves set within a diapered cable. Most patterns are available in other colorways. All from Old House Interiors.

If you had your druthers... - Which would it be?

Would you rather have wallpapered walls or painted walls? Why? For example, paint can be less expensive and easier, but wallpaper can last a lot longer. Some people are afraid they'd get bored with a wallpaper and paint color is easier to change, or they are uncertain about working with pattern. Others will go with what is historically appropriate for their home. There are many other reasons, but we'd like to hear yours.

So, if you had the choice, which would you prefer: wallpaper or paint? Tell us why.

Do you prefer painted or wallpapered walls?

See results

Late 1800s - Fashion, Fads, and Taste

Left: Voysey Machine Print with Mica c. 1899. Right: Walter Crane Border Design with Swans and Reeds c. 1875
Left: Voysey Machine Print with Mica c. 1899. Right: Walter Crane Border Design with Swans and Reeds c. 1875
Flocked Pugin Design Wallpaper c. 1850
Flocked Pugin Design Wallpaper c. 1850

The Victorian Parlour

Charles Eastlake's influential Hints on Household Taste, published in 1868, advanced some strong opinions about wallpaper in home décor.

He condemned illusionistic and pictorial patterns but defended flocks as "the best in design, because they can represent nothing pictorially."

Nevertheless, by the later 19th century flocks were out of fashion, dismissed or even condemned by writers of guides to interior decoration. A writer in the Art Journal in 1889 called the popular wallpaper of the day gaudily gilt monstrosities or the heavily loaded 'flocks' shedding everywhere their poisonous dust.

Cleanliness had become something of an obsession with the later Victorians, and lighter colours and washable "sanitary" papers were supplanting the dark velvety flocks favored in the earlier years of Victoria's reign. Those, however, were not dispensed with but were relegated to the library or hallways as a background for a picture gallery.

William Morris "Fruit Minor" (Pomegranate) Wallpaper Design c. 1864
William Morris "Fruit Minor" (Pomegranate) Wallpaper Design c. 1864 | Source

"Art" Papers

Dark, gloomy, a hindrance to cleanliness and a hazard to health - the fashion for flock paper was in decline among many pundits of good taste, but, whether in defiance or in ignorance of the critics, flocked papers remained popular well into the 1920s. (Flocked papers are still manufactured today, but they use rayon flock.) Other designs considered more "artistic" continued to be produced, including papers by Morris, Crane and other fashionable designers of 'art wallpapers' for the home.

Art Nouveau in Context

By the late 1800s, William Morris, Walter Crane, and other designers began to react to the excesses of the high Victorian era (mid-1800s), arguing for a return to craftsmanship and "good taste." Their flat-patterned papers, hand-printed by the wood block method, came to symbolize Art Nouveau and inspired the Arts & Crafts Movement. However, their designs are far more popular today than they were at that time. Production methods were too expensive for mass consumption and, frankly, their designs were not widely appreciated by the general population of the time and had limited impact, especially in America, where the 1890's witnessed a general return to mass production of scrollwork and naturalistic styles in pastels and colors similar to those of the mid-century.

Consumers Prefer Lincrusta, Leather and Ingrain

Three unique types of late 19th-century wallcoverings were far more popular in home décor than the "art papers." The first is "Lincrusta Walton," invented in the 1870s by Frederick Walton, an Englishman. Lincrusta is a composition, which like linoleum, is based on linseed oil. Very thick and strong, and patterned in high relief, it was sold both colored, and plain, to be painted after hanging. In 1882 a Connecticut company was organized to manufacture Lincrusta, advertised as "the indestructible wall covering," in the U.S.

The second type of wallcovering that was particularly popular during the late 19th century was Japanese "Leather Paper." The heavy gauge paper was highly embossed and varnished, and featured richly colored and gilded decorations. It became so realistic that it was difficult to distinguish the imitation from the real thing. Leather paper was hung on walls, but also used to decorate the bamboo and imitation bamboo furniture that was popular during the period.

The third category of papers, patented in 1877, and popular into the 1920s was "Ingrain" paper. The paper was made from mixed cotton and woolen rags which were dyed before pulping. The process gave a thick, roughly textured "ingrained" coloring. Similar papers with rough grainy surface were known as "oatmeal papers."

1910 Postcard Showing “New” Wallpaper Styles
1910 Postcard Showing “New” Wallpaper Styles
1923 Sanitary Wallpaper by Cole & Sons, England
1923 Sanitary Wallpaper by Cole & Sons, England

The Twentieth Century

The Golden Age of the 1920s

As grand and elaborate as wallpaper was in the Victorian Era, the 1920s remain its Golden Age, with over 400 million rolls sold during that decade. Again, technological advancements were key: wallpaper pasting machines appeared in the early 1900s and the first mechanical silk screen machine was invented in 1920.

For the first time, wallpaper designers did not just borrow from the past. Futurist and Cubist designs were produced and there were both modern and traditional styles available. By the late 1920s wallpaper had become so ubiquitous that the elite turned up their noses at it and reverted to using silks and painted finishes on their walls.

1956 Screenprinted Wallpaper Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
1956 Screenprinted Wallpaper Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Post-war Decline

After WWII, the use of plastic resins revolutionized the wallpaper industry.

Vinyl wallpaper, introduced in 1947, offered increased stain resistance, washability, durability, and strength.

Pre-pasted papers first appeared in the early 1950s, but by that time wallpaper was beginning to fall into disfavor. Modernism was all about spareness and embellishments, including wallpaper, were frowned upon.

Wallpaper Today

Contemporary wallcoverings: Charm, a graphic floral in purple, Ticking Stripe in charcoal and white, Berries in teal, gold, and silver, and mirage in grey. All available at
Contemporary wallcoverings: Charm, a graphic floral in purple, Ticking Stripe in charcoal and white, Berries in teal, gold, and silver, and mirage in grey. All available at | Source

Resurgence and Revitalization

Now, in the early 21st century, we talk of wallcoverings instead of wallpapers and the field encompasses materials not even dreamed of by wallpaper manufacturers of the past. Recent advances in digital, photo, and printing technologies have allowed modern printing facilities to easily create one-of-a-kind or custom papers and to replicate historic designs. (However, it should be noted that many purists and old house restorers prefer those printed by hand the old-fashioned way, either with blocks or silk screens.)

Wallpapers/coverings are once again enjoying widespread popularity in interior décor, at least in part as a reaction to sterile work environments and cookie-cutter homes and apartments. In addition, wallpaper fits every budget (especially if you take advantage of the fabulous deals on ebay) and is an easy way to express your creativity and create an unprecedented variety of looks. Nothing effects the mood and style of a room like your choice of wallpaper.

Recommended Video

You might also want to take a look at a brief video “WALLPAPER THAT MOVES - Three Hundred Years of Wallpaper History in Three Minutes.” The video is from Kit Laybourne at Oxygen Media and was made with the cooperation and direct assistance of the Cooper-Hewett National Design Museum.

Source

More Historic Reproduction and Vintage Wallpapers From Old House Interiors

Old House Interiors is your source for exclusive high-end to-the-trade only wallcoverings, wallpaper borders, and decorator accessories at way-below-wholesale prices.

Old House Interiors specializes in new and vintage wallpapers for historic homes from the 17th to mid-20th centuries plus antiques, collectibles, decorator accents and serendipitous finds. From the modest to the extravagant, from period restorations to an eclectic blend of styles, Old House Interiors offers products that help you create a home that reflects your unique personal decorating style and extraordinarily good taste.

There are two stores full of items you can purchase. Visit them at OldHouseInteriors.net or shop Old House Interiors on eBay.

Ready to Hang Wallpaper?

We hope this page about historic wallpaper has inspired you and helped you choose an appropriate wallcovering for your home or office décor. Careful wall preparation is the first step but before you strip old wallpaper, check carefully to see if there are at least some remnants of your home's original paper hidden underneath. (HINT: Closet walls are great places to look! Many of the historic were discovered that way.)

You may not want to reproduce or use a similar paper but you should always try to preserve at least some of the original paper. We are only caretakers of period homes and any historic wallpapers are an important part of that history. If the old paper cannot be removed without damaging it, we suggest leaving at least one repeat on the wall and placing a frame with UV protected glass over it.

We find the easiest and safest way to do what we call "archaeological investigation" is to spray the wall with warm water to which you've added a little mild dishwashing soap, a splash of white vinegar, and a good amount of patience. Allow solution to soften and then carefully remove top layer of paper.

The safest "scraper" we've found to help peel back the layers is an old credit card or similar piece of plastic without any identification information on it. The rounded corners and flexibility help prevent tearing and are good for lifting loose edges or coaxing a corner off the wall so you can gently peel it off.

For Historic Reproduction and Vintage Wallpapers ...

Plus Fabrics & Trims to complete your interior décor

Visit RestorationFabricsandTrims.com

Restoration Fabrics and Trims is your on-line source for exclusive high-end to-the-trade only decorator fabrics & trims at way-below-wholesale prices. Specializing in period- appropriate new and vintage fabrics and trims for historic homes from the 17th to mid-20th centuries, Restoration Fabrics & Trims brings you the finest discounted designer upholstery & drapery fabrics & trims by Scalamandre, Clarence House, Brunschwig et Fils, Stroheim & Romann, Lee Jofa, Kravet, Greeff/Schumacher, and other exclusive trade sources.

Thank You

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    • Terrielynn1 profile image

      Terrie Lynn 8 months ago from Canada

      Love the history of wall paper. Thank you for sharing. Well done. I love wall paper and boarders. It seems they've been replaced by wall words. What a shame. I'll be back for more.

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 3 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      How well I remember steaming off layers of old wallpaper at my childhood home and fantasizing about the people who had originally put the different wallpapers on.

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      You definitely have the designer's touch in all of your advice. For vintage papers, I do think you have to have just the right kind of property so the style coordinates with the architectural integrity.

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 4 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Wonderful information on the history of wallpaper. I am looking at a vintage wallpaper, for my new home's mud room. It is a replica from the 20's. A silhouette of various dogs in black and white and the dogs are velvet. It is totally cool but ridiculously priced. I discovered it on Houzz. I am so addicted to that site. :) Blessed!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Great interesting subject and nicely done lens!

      ~d-artist Squid Angel Blessing~

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 4 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Fascinating. Until today I'd never stopped to wonder about how wallpaper came into being. There are so many things we take for granted we never really think about their origins. I have learned a lot from you tonight.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Unique lens, like it much.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

      Wow a wonderfully researched lens , very informative and interesting

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for the history of wallpaper, I love wall paper and victorian décor, i have just moved in a house with 1960s wall paper and tiles , I want to keep it but my kids want morden style

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      You have written a small book here! I really enjoyed it! Blessings to you.

    • PaulWinter profile image

      PaulWinter 4 years ago

      Thanks for a really interesting history of wallpaper

    • profile image

      MaCWrites 5 years ago

      awesome!

    • profile image

      MaCWrites 5 years ago

      awesome!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love the Elaborate Victorian Wallpaper.

    • profile image

      myamya 5 years ago

      Very nice lens, great job! Squidlike

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Amazingly well done lens. I love the colors and designs. Squid Angel blessed.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      This is a magnificent lens, but I wouldn't expect anything less. I love the detail in the Victorian example - I imagine therapeutic remedial massage wasn't readily available then for all the crinked necks and backs that applied it.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      Some of those old wallpapers you showed here are wonderful. I was amazed to learn that flocked wallpaper has been around for several hundred years. Never would have guessed that!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Beautiful collection of superb designs and resources. Love the wall papered ceilings. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2. Hugs.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      wow. that's a full course history

    • Millionairemomma profile image

      Millionairemomma 5 years ago

      I want to smack some of these on my walls now. Exquisite.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I had no idea that wallpaper had been around for so many years! Wonderful information here

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 5 years ago

      These old wallpapers here are terrific- I have been watching a meticulous restoration on a local home from late 1800's and they have revealed some beautiful wallpaper that the owners are now going to have reproduced.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What beautiful wallpaper. Thanks so much for sharing this. Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I would love these old papers for folding.

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 5 years ago

      Great information. And the wallpaper? They truly are masterpieces.

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      wallpaper is incredibly under appreciated and can make a dull room magnificent.

    • ProfessionalSol profile image

      ProfessionalSol 5 years ago

      Hello! Truly gorgeous wallpaper designs. They are beautiful pieces of art.

    • GypsyOwl profile image

      Deb Bryan 5 years ago from Chico California

      Beautiful wall paper history page and information! I love interior design and I believe I am learning my style preference which your wall paper history article called "Art Nouveau"

      I have always loved Victorian but with a little less clutter... and to me the Art Nouveau style fits nicely into my preference. I think wall paper is still a great way to decorate if done right. Your resources would be great for anyone who is considering using wall paper as part of their interior design.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Super lens, great detail, wonderful content! Great job!!!!!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Enjoyed reading your lens with its beautiful pictures.

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      miaponzo 5 years ago

      Wow! I never knew so much about wall paper before :) Blessed!

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      webstudio2ucom 5 years ago

      @gottaloveit2: History gives many ideas. Can you imagine that many of the decorative elements were handed down from generation to Poquelin thousands of years. Each symbol means something and says - it is a language

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      TheCheshireCat 5 years ago

      Beautiful wallpaper. Wish I had a house instead of an apartment where I could use it.

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      Love your idea for this lens! Well done!

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 5 years ago from Gloucester

      What an interesting topic! Really great information on wallpaper history. Thoroughly Blessed! :)

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 5 years ago from USA

      This is a wonderful source of information and products related to wall paper, and will come in handy for those restoring a historic home or building.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Fun article for me to come across this morning, I just published a peacock article last night myself.

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      @anonymous: Hi there - no need to wonder. We have a huge inventory of new vintage repro 1700s hand printed wallpaper. See http://www.restorationfabricsandtrims.com and http://www.oldhouseinteriors.net and follow the links there to our ebay shops for even more. We have many not listed on line so let us know if you are looking for something particular and how many rolls you would need.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would love to have the green wallpaper from the 1700's for a certain room at home. I wonder if there are stores that actually sell vintage wallpaper like this.

    • dwnovacek profile image

      dwnovacek 5 years ago

      Both beautiful and informative. Angel Blessed!

    • Herman IV profile image

      Herman IV 5 years ago

      Some of these are really beautiful. I love the 1800's styles and may need to take some inspiration from this for a couple rooms in my home!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      My house was built in 1857 and I'm just about to redo my foyer wallpaper. Might pick one of the nice styles from late 1800s to dress up this old house.

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      ptnjust007 5 years ago

      good lens

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      greenlungsofpoland 5 years ago

      Awesome lens so glad i found this today - you never know what squidoo will surprise you with next!

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 5 years ago

      Your lenses never cease to amaze me!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Hanging wallpaper border later! Neat lens. I always love the walls in buildings used in British melodramas and Jane Austen-based flicks.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Wonderful lens (as are all your lenses). So full of information. Beautiful to look at.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Another wondrous presentation by you and another front page honor, congratulations. Wallpaper has always been a little magical to me and am adding a little angel dust to yours.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You are very welcome, I really enjoyed and will be coming back for more ideas.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I do love to visit a well-papered room, as we often see in a bed and breakfast or one of the finer old hotels. Thank you so much for the history and all the lovely images. Blessed.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      I found an old German book that had my grt.grt. grandfathers Renaissance Revival (Neo-Renaissance)"Villa Meyer" documented choice of wallpaper...how odd I found that!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Beautiful. I loved seeing these historic wallpapers and reading about them. I am sharing with my friends at Pendleton Historic Foundation.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      I keep coming back here... you need about seven "Like" buttons. :)

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Very fascinating history of beautiful wallpaper! =D

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      You have the BEST Lenses!!!

      I'm a little prejudiced though, me being a screen process printer by trade.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      Interesting lens about the history of wallpaper use. I can imagine the stuff from the 18th century and before being incredibly expensive and rare today. I never would've expected Chinese style wallpapers to show up Western homes, just seems too strange!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I love vintage and old pattern whether rug, wall paper, or cloth just grabs at my old heartstrings. What a truly informative and delightful trip into the wonderful world of wallpaper you have provided. Excellent.

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 5 years ago

      Came back to give an Angel's Blessings

    • Image Girl profile image

      Image Girl 5 years ago

      Learned a lot....and am thrilled to find someone else loves wallpaper!

    • Niche-Diva profile image

      Niche-Diva 5 years ago

      hi

    • Niche-Diva profile image

      Niche-Diva 5 years ago

      I absolutely LOVE historic wallpaper. I have 3 rooms featuring beautiful prints: 2 dipicting nature (flowers and a japanese blossom) and one fornasetti featuring the beautiful face of Lena Cavalieri in various plate designs...thank you for a truly fascinating lense.

    • viscri8 profile image

      viscri8 5 years ago

      This is a very nice lens about trends and fashion in using Wallpapers -- and History.

    • viscri8 profile image

      viscri8 5 years ago

      This beautiful lens is blessed right now!

    • HomeArtist1 profile image

      Wendy Hughes 5 years ago from Charlotte

      Love your lens! I used to be a wallpaper fanatic, but with kids and time my wallpaper days have faded along with the product! I have to scrape the bathroom paper off as it divided at the seams after 7 years. Because it was so expensive and now takes a lot of time removing, I'll stick with paint for a while.

      SMILES!

      ~Wendy

    • davies86 profile image

      davies86 5 years ago

      really interesting lens.

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 5 years ago

      If i make my first million on Squidoo, i call you to decorate my new home

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 5 years ago

      Very well done - fascinating subject. Your Lens would be a good resource for interior and scenic designers. Squid angel blessed.

    • MelissaInTheSky profile image

      MelissaInTheSky 5 years ago

      Fascinating! As an artist, I am always interested in what colors and images folks choose to have around. This is a great lens!

    • jgelien profile image

      jgelien 5 years ago

      I love the look of antique wall paper. It'd nice to see that there are replicas of these amazing old patterns that can be purchased today. Very nice lens.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      I had absolutely no idea the wallpaper was this old! Nicely done lens & helpful resource. ***Angel blessed*** :)

    • NAIZA LM profile image

      NAIZA LM 5 years ago

      Very precise lens. I enjoyed all these historical wallpaper design collection here. What a wonderful resource too. ~Blessed by a Squid Angel~

    • kougar lm profile image

      kougar lm 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens. Great information. Thank-you

    • profile image

      Runnn 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • Candlemakingsup profile image

      Candlemakingsup 5 years ago

      Thank you for liking my lens! Going through and liking a bunch of yours now!!! Smiles!!

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 5 years ago

      This is a great lens, I really enjoyed it. Thank you

    • CarolynPile profile image

      CarolynPile 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this information. I enjoyed it. :D

    • DuaneJ profile image

      DuaneJ 6 years ago

      nice work.....well done!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      My grandmother has some lovely wallpaper, and amazingly she had dishes to match. I always remember it. I often see it on television shows set in the Victorian period. I always find it comforting. I do have to say that with painted walls it is so much better to redecorate and clean the place up. My great-grandparents lived in a house with gas light and within no time new wallpaper would have turned yellow. So my mother tells me. Thanks for the lens.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      Well-presented lens on historical topic, I loved it!

    • CofCJenny LM profile image

      CofCJenny LM 6 years ago

      there's something about vintage that you just can't recreate the same way. love all these patterns & designs!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very interesting lens and beautiful pictures - Angel Blessings for you

    • profile image

      chrispell017 6 years ago

      very nice lens! well done

    • profile image

      ComputerSecurityExperts 6 years ago

      Never really thought about wall paper that in-depth. Thank you for this information!

    • Homelust profile image

      Homelust 6 years ago

      You put a lot of hard work making this lens, well done!

    • Deborah Swain profile image

      Deborah Swain 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      gorgeous lens with exhaustive research ...an inspiration!

    • MyCrazyAdventures profile image

      Melissa 6 years ago from Albuquerque, NM

      Beautiful lens, so informaotive and well documented. Blessed by a Squid Angel

    • Puckwudgie profile image

      Puckwudgie 6 years ago

      Thank you for posting such a well-researched, well-written, and beautifully illustrated lens! The peacock wallpaper in your introduction is gorgeous, and I loved the part about Mr. Hickey's wallpaper being hung so as to harbour no worms!

      My husband and I once renovated a small Craftsman (though I'm far fonder of Victorians). It had fallen into disrepair as a rental house. In one room the wallpaper was at least seven layers deep. One layer was a crumbly ecru monstrosity (I'm guessing from the 50s or 60s?) with poorly done line drawings in brown and white of churches. Chapels and spires everywhere! Too bad I couldn't scrape it off before my stepmother-in-law, a devout Catholic, saw it - she thought it was beautiful and wanted me to preserve it! LOL

    • victorianpassage profile image

      victorianpassage 6 years ago

      My husband & I have a piece off an old plantation home that was falling to the ground.It was a house just down the road from the well known Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana. It was attached directly to the brick which was behind the wallboards. It has a canvas back to it. The design & paint colors seem to suggest around the 1820s or 1830s. It's a fascinating piece. We only wish we could have saved the house. =( But sadly it was too far gone.

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      Joan4 6 years ago

      Beautiful old wall papers. We lived in an old colonial home once and it had a gorgeous mural running up the wall beside the staircase. In those days it was so hard to find great information like this! I hope the new owners managed to salvage that beautiful paper!

    • MagpieNest profile image

      MagpieNest 6 years ago

      I enjoyed that! We visit lots of historic houses with vintage wallpaper. If you've got the space then modern reproductions can look amazing too.

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      Thank you for such wonderful comments. We know how busy you are and really appreciate the time you took to leave such thoughtful, personal, and supportive comments!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      wow. great collection of wall papers and details. ~blessed~

    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 6 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      I LOVE old wallpaper. I even used a sample pattern from some wallpaper that adorned the Houses of Parliament (I think) back in the 1700s for my personal website background with a little change of color: The original was a stark black and white I think. Another place I remember fantastic wallpaper is on the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disney. I'd LOVE to hang wallpaper if I ever buy a home!

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      scss 6 years ago

      Love this lens, and love wallpaper - ever since I worked in soft furnishings and interior decorating in the 1970s when wallpaper was popular. Glad to see some classic designs and borders still hang in there for popularity.

      Helene Malmsio

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is an outstanding lens on the history of wall paper, the images are great. I loved your introductory image, it is stunning.

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      @BlackHeart1: Thank you.

    • BlackHeart1 profile image

      BlackHeart1 6 years ago

      You made it!! You submitted this lens for the top Arts & Design lens section and you made it to the top 5 ... Be sure to go check this page: http://www.squidoo.com/top-5-arts-design on the first of the month to see what your position in the top 5 is and don't forget to tell your friends and visitors about it too

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      very interesting!

    • Krafick profile image

      Krafick 6 years ago

      I like wallpaper. When I was a child I lived in a house with wallpaper.

    • CoeGurl profile image

      CoeGurl 6 years ago from USA

      Wonderful lens! The historic wallpaper designs are so lovely.

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 6 years ago

      Wall coverings have certainly advanced, but there is still a lot to be said about the historical wallpapers. Thanks for such an informative lens.

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      @editionh: Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.

    • profile image

      editionh 6 years ago

      This is a great read...I am glad I heard about your lenses!

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      @natashaely: Thank you so much. Appreciate the compliments and the time you took to write this and let us know.

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 6 years ago

      Wow...fabulous lens, I like the layout, the information and the music that I had accompanying it courtesy of Utubes video. I think there are some amazing wallpapers and if only they COULD talk, what tales they would tell! :)

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      @phdesign: Thank you all for the supportive comments. Glad you find the lens helpful.

    • phdesign profile image

      phdesign 6 years ago

      wow...great lens....like the content and how it's organized and the links. Learned a lot. I will be back. Thanks.

    • renee7 profile image

      renee7 7 years ago

      Thanks for all of the great information. Using vintage wallpaper designs can really add depth to the look of a room. Nice lens.

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      Cbear53 7 years ago

      I have used Old House Interiors for all of my fabrics and wallpapers for restoring my 18th century home. Their advice and customer service have been right on the money. Anything they recommended did not disappoint me. I would recommend this company without any reservations.

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      MediaWeasel 7 years ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed that article. Interesting, beautifully written and compelling reading - a first class lens.

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 7 years ago from New York

      Thank you Brian, Glad to be part of one of the best groups I've found in squidoo's ocean.

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 7 years ago from France

      Nice lens, welcome to the Interior Design, Soft furnishings and Décor Group

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I just received my wallpaper from oldhouseinteriors and was so happy. The quality is superb and the colors are so beautiful. Best of all, the price was below wholesale. I would highly recommend using this store to anyone not only restoring their historic homes, but may just want a beautiful wallpaper.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I am an interior designer working in Manhattan. My elite clientele are extremely particular. Old House Interiors meets the expectation of my clients by offering high quality wallpaper. I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable they we were in terms of price. Definitely worth taking a look!

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I recently purchased historic reproduction wallpaper from old house interiors. The detail of the hand printed wallpaper was exquisite! The cost was below retail. I highly recommend this company.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      I have recently purchased an old brownstone in Harlem, NY. I have been looking for wallpaper that would be appropriate to use as part of my restoration project. I was so happy when I found Old House Interiors. I was able to purchase exaactly what I wanted...and didn't need to spend my entire budget on just wallpaper! Their service and prices are the best I have had the pleasure to encounter in many years. It has been a breath of fresh air to do business with this company. Thank you.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      It was so wonderful to find a place that actually carries an entire line of wallpaper and fabrics that I am able to buy to restore my 1800s home in Connecticut. Not only is there a wide selection, but the prices are unbeatable. Also, they are very pleasant to work with and responsive to customer needs. I love this place!

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      lunazorro 8 years ago

      great selection. great service. very informative article. I would not buy wallpaper from anywhere else!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What a fascinating essay on the history of wallpaper. what a great selection you carry. one stop restoration shopping! And friendly, fast service, too! Thanks!

    • chezchazz profile image
      Author

      Chazz 8 years ago from New York

      Thank you for visiting us! Let us know what other topics related to old house interiors you would like to see addressed in a lens, ask a question, leave a comment or suggestion, or just say "hello"...we can't respond to every question but we will reply to as many as possible in a future listing.

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