Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Framing Antique Wallpaper Samples

Posted on | January 13, 2012 | 30 Comments

Reproduction wallpaper samples by John Derain for One Kings Lane.

Spotted on One Kings Lane framed reproduction wallpaper samples from John Derian. Derian purchased a collection of antique antique wallpaper fragments from a Paris flea market. The collection dates from the 1800s through the early 20th century. Care was taken to recreate characteristics of the originals from saturated colors to raw edges. “They’re wallpaper specimens, and that’s how I wanted to present them, floating in the frame,” says Derian.

While renovating my home we’ve discovered beautiful old wallpaper under layers of paint. Below my favorite discovery a pretty floral found in an odd little room that I hope to turn into a library. I’ve tried to remove large pieces of the wallpaper to hopefully frame. I thought it would be a sweet a reminder of the history of the room. We’ve also talked about including objects found in the walls and ceiling to display in shadow boxes. On a side note: Historic New England has created an extensive database of individual samples of historic wallpapers and photographs of wallpaper in situ. View the collection on their website: historicnewengland.com.

Don’t have any old wallpaper to peel off your walls but love this idea? Adelphi Wallpaper Hangings specializes in reproduction historic wallpapers from 1750-1930. The wallpaper is quite expensive but a 12 X 23 inch sample can be purchased for $10. Carnation & Shells is one of my favorites—framed ala Derian it would be quite striking on a gallery wall.

Wallpaper sources that offer original antique wallpaper are tough to find. Second Hand Rose in New York carries rolls from the 1880’s to the 1970’s. 5QM in Germany offers an impressive online gallery showcasing prints from the 50s, 60s,70s. I’ve gathered a few favorites from their site here.

And then their always ebay, Brimfield and French flea markets. If John Derain can come across a collection of antique samples so can’t we, right?

The little room where we found the wallpaper.

Reproduction wallpaper samples by John Derain for One Kings Lane.

A piece of wallpaper found on the walls of my library.

Wallpaper during renovation.

Floral wallpaper found on the wall under layers of paint in library.

Two layers of blue wallpaper found on the walls in the den.

Related Posts:
Second Hand Rose Vintage Wallpaper
5qm: Vintage Wallpapers
Finding Old Wallpaper

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


30 Responses to “Framing Antique Wallpaper Samples”

  1. leia
    January 13th, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    Maybe you could find an artist who would like to reproduce your wallpaper. The Floral wallpaper found on the wall is pretty amazing!!! It would be a shame to let die this beautiful piece of history. Maybe you could print this reproduce wallpaper online…


  2. Diane@Orangerieandblue
    January 13th, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    I love this idea and appreciate learning of the Adelphi Wallpaper site. I have a group of framed William Morris wallpaper (giclee prints) in my foyer, which you can see here: http://orangerieandblue.blogspot.com/2010/02/william-morris-prints.html For mine, I added a mat, same color on all, to give a more unified look. I’m just wondering what special techniques you would use to frame your delicate pieces of wallpaper? What a treasure to find in your house!


  3. Diane@Orangerieandblue
    January 13th, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    I just had another idea — maybe before you try to remove the wallpaper, you could put some tracing paper over the top and trace the design through to transfer later. You could then have a framed drawing or painting of the wallpaper if you don’t get enough larger bits to frame… your good close-up photo would help you match the colors.


  4. Katy Elliott
    January 13th, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Hi leia and Diane,

    I was able to grab a big enough piece that showed the repeat of the design so I could be reproduce if I wanted.

    I haven’t decided exactly how to frame it. The paper has faded dramatically since being exposed to light so archival glass will be a must.


  5. Jane Flanagan
    January 13th, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    I love this post! I can’t wait to see how you end up framing these!


  6. gen Woodford
    January 13th, 2012 @ 11:53 am

    Katy, You might be interested in seeing this. It was on a couple of months ago, and I really don’t know if you guys would see this series or not. However, the presenter is doing up an old country manor where she found some antique wallpaper. By complete coincidence, the old wallpaper manufacturer she went to visit(in London I think) to get some similar wall paper, still had the original antque rolls and they were able to reproduce the very same pattern in the same colour using the very same roll that would have been originally used.

    Here’s the link to the series – I don’t remember which episode it was, but the whole programme was immensely interesting and I think you’d really enjoy it.



  7. Kate
    January 13th, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

    When researching some old rolls of wallpaper I found at an antique shop, I found out about a wallpaper company that was originally Boston then Chelsea-based: http://www.thomasstrahan.com/products.html

    They began doing meticulous colonial reproductions in the late 1880’s. There are at least three papers on their website that were taken from colonial Marblehead homes: Canton (Jeremiah Lee mansion), Marblehead (Jeremiah Lee mansion), and the Peter Jayne (Peter Jayne House, Mugford St). Not the easiest site to navigate but cool. Enjoy!


  8. Katy Elliott
    January 13th, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    Thanks Kate for mentioning. I love exploring this site. Many of the papers can also be found in Historic New England’s database as well.


  9. Genevieve Woodford
    January 13th, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    Here we are, I’ve found it – Cole and Son. Hope you find it all interesting.

    Here’s a link to the gallery http://www.risehall.com/renovation/decoration/cole-and-son

    And here’s their website http://www.cole-and-son.com/home.asp


  10. Genevieve Woodford
    January 13th, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

    One last thing – if you love pattern, this is a really wonderful book, especially for you with such an interest in interior design. I use it alot, and it contains images and patterns similar to those in your blog. It’s price really does reflect it’s value to – infact I’d say it was under priced!


    Okay, I hope you find all this helpful! Best wishes


  11. Molly
    January 13th, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

    I love the idea of framing wallpaper. It would be such a great way to display the history of your house :)


  12. Susan
    January 13th, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

    Fabulous idea!


  13. ileana
    January 13th, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

    very lovely post. I visit Sharon Springs NY frequently and often walk past Aldelphi and see their beautiful work.


  14. Katy Elliott
    January 13th, 2012 @ 5:16 pm


    Thanks for all the tips. Lots of fun things to explore this weekend.


  15. Joyce
    January 14th, 2012 @ 9:49 am

    Great post! I’ve been on the wallpaper hunt for our current project where the client’s directive was that he wanted it to look like his grandmother’s house. Here’s a link to some great resources from Retro Renovation that I found. http://retrorenovation.com/category/period-accents/wallpaper/


  16. Donna Seger
    January 14th, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    Great post, Katy. I love wallpaper from all periods. I attempted to construct a brief history of wallpaper on my own blog (http://streetsofsalem.com/2011/03/13/the-social-history-of-wallpaper/)—not sure how successful I was, but I prominently featured the AMAZING wallpaper just down the street from you at the Lee Mansion.


  17. Jessie
    January 14th, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

    I was so happy to see you post this! I have some of my grandmother’s vintage wallpaper samples that I found in her old art portfolio. I framed my favorite one by Schumacher. The best part about it (aside from the fact that I’m proud of her amazing style) is that her name is written in pencil in the margin!


  18. Earlene Williams
    January 15th, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    My house, an 1832 Greek Revival near Cooperstown, New York, has had as many as seven layers of wallpaper in some rooms. The nicest base layer in the house was located in the living room. We had no idea it was there until we decided to start some careful exploration (we had avoided this for years for fear that the original plaster walls were being held together by wallpaper. In any case, we found a very large piece of a lovely pattern and could not bear to try removing it. So we framed it, as is, right on the wall, with half-round molding and then went on removing the rest and restoring the plaster. I hope we can do this in other rooms–especially the stairwell, which is crying for restoration.


  19. lillie
    January 15th, 2012 @ 8:18 am

    your prints are darling – lucky you! how exciting to discover all these hidden treasures in your own house. and i absolutely believe that the ultimate find of antique samples is waiting out there for all of us, somewhere!


  20. Abbey
    January 15th, 2012 @ 10:06 am



  21. Anonymous
    January 16th, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    The floral paper is so pretty. Have you considered leaving it as is and painting the rest of the room as normal? (Pink, perhaps?) it would look like John Derian’s country place. I think it would look cool!

    I’m also planning to frame all the paper we found — several patterns in each room. It’s mid century, so not particularly historic, but I like it all and it shows the previous owner and the history of the house.


  22. Mopar
    January 16th, 2012 @ 8:59 am

    Oops. Anonymous above is from Mopar.


  23. Kirsty @GoodTasteGuide
    January 16th, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    I adore this post and love your pictures! Thanks for the great resources of where to find wallpaper for my own.


  24. Suzanne
    January 17th, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

    Loved this post! I’ve got a collection of vintage wallpaper in frames in a hallway of my 1950’s home. I love the personality that comes through, and I’ve always got my eyes “peeled” for more pretty samples.

    This is definitely inspiring :)


  25. emily @ thirtyeight20
    January 18th, 2012 @ 8:48 am

    LOVE the idea of framing wallpaper found in your home. What a great nod to the past.

    I have about 100 old glass medicine and tonic bottles we dug up from under our kitchen floor that I’m trying to figure out what to do with. I hate to sell or part with them since they are part of the house’s history.


  26. monika
    January 25th, 2012 @ 10:13 am

    Katy, your floral wallpaper is gorgeous. While I love the idea of framing pieces, it is so beautiful, I think it would be nice to have the piece reproduced.

    Since I don’t think anyone has mentioned Adelphi yet, I will. Not only do they have a catalog of historic block print paper which they continue to make, but they also do custom reproduction work. Reintroducing this historic paper back into your home would be such a lovely touch.



  27. Kelly R.
    February 17th, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

    Brings new meaning to the phrase “If these walls could talk…”

    I’m not a DIYer but I have such a deep, abiding love for old colonial New England homes. I really love this idea, as well as preserving other artifacts that may not otherwise survive a renovation – using an old window as a wall hanging, reusing antique hardware on a piece of furniture or as a little standalone sculpture, etc.


  28. barry conduit
    March 15th, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

    Hi, I have been scouring sites many times and found yours, it fits right into my search for wondering what I should do with my many wallcovering original designs.
    We have been in the wallcovering design business all our working lives, and have not only retained many of our own original hand painted designs, but hundreds bought over the years in Europe and the states, some new some old documents.
    We also bought hundreds of old designs from a retired business years ago,many from the 1800s.
    Another item in our library collection is a factory sample book from 1860 full of stunning paisley textile designs,most copper plate full repeat which identified it for the design record, other are hand painted.
    A few of these we have repaired, scanned. and printed on canvas and framed, they can be created in any colors, but the originals have the added romance of being just that.
    Thanks, nice to find .
    Nice to know that somehow their should be an avenue for all this material to be appreciated.


  29. Katie
    July 29th, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    I love the magic of uncovering and discovering lost, forgotten beauty: peeling away the layers to reveal the beauty.

    I featured this post on my blog, in a post called Five Fabulous Fings on Friday. You can have a peek here if you wish:


    Katie. xxx


  30. Victoria
    November 4th, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

    This is a great idea. I just came upon a fabulous roll of 1940s botanical floral wallpaper at the thrift store for $3 and can’t decide what to do with it. There are also hundreds of rolls of vintage wallpaper being sold on etsy.com and they are rather inexpensive.


  • About Blog

    postcard of house

    A journal about new england life, decorating inspiration, and raising a baby girl while renovating a 262-year-old house in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read more...

  • Press & Mentions

    goop press
    marblehead home and style

    best 20 interior blogs

    best 20 interior blogs

    instyle editor pick nov 11

    marblehead home and style

    improper bostonian

    times online

    the guardian
  • Categories

  • Monthly Archive

  • Most Popular

  • Sponsored Links

  • Follow Along

    Sign up for bi-weekly post updates

    Newsletter plugin by glockeasymail.com

  • Blog Courtesy

    I love to share! Please credit my blog and provide a link when re-posting to your blog, website, pinterest etc. Please ask permission to use complete blog posts with my original written text, instructions or photos for web, tv or print use. E-mail me with questions: elliott.katy@gmail.com.