Butterfly Chintz Carnations and Shells
Chestertown Vine Everard Damask
Everard Medallion Ipswich Sprig
                                  Conyers Diamond Pagodas
Norton Conyers Diamond Pagodas
                                  Gothic Strawberry
                                  Hill Floret
Sayward Gothic Strawberry Hill Floret
                                  Hill Plaid Strawberry
                                  Hill Quatrefoil
Strawberry Hill Plaid Strawberry Hill Quatrefoil
                                  Damask Webb
                                  House Damask
Walpole Damask Webb House Damask
West St.
West St. Mary's
                                  and Shells
Click image for larger view View Detail

English circa 1720-50

Carnations and Shells may well be the earliest complete repeats of a wallpaper motif found in situ in the United States. There are two samples of it in the Historic New England archives, one from the Cowing House in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and a larger sample with "Whipple House" scribbled on the back.

The Whipple House in Ipswich, Massachusetts was constructed as early as the 1630s. In 1721 Mary Whipple Crocker aged 38 married and inherited the house upon the death of her father. The installation of the paper could date from a redecoration that took place soon thereafter, perhaps in 1725. After Mary's death her widower, Benjamin Crocker, married a 44-year old woman named Experience Coolidge in 1736. The installation of the paper could also date from this slightly later period.

The pattern is characteristic of the very early rococo with an asymmetrical composition focused around a shell. Although it lacks the precision and refinement of the late rococo, it is nevertheless a dramatic and engaging pattern. It was designed before wallpaper printers had mastered the technology of printing large areas of color. Instead, these areas were hand stenciled, a very labor intensive process. The delicate black and red outlines were then block printed.

Shell and Carnations is remarkable for both its exuberant design and bold use of translucent color. It is an extraordinary example of the early 18th century paperstainer's craft.

This pattern is licensed to Adelphi Paper Hangings by Historic New England.

Repeat 18 inches
Width 21 inches
Half-drop match

The historic colorway image above shows two widths of the pattern installed.