An inspired choice of color is easily as important as the specific pattern when selecting wallpaper. At Adelphi Paper Hangings, each order is printed individually, allowing us to tailor the palette to the client's needs.

The primary image of each available pattern shown on this website depicts its document colorway. For most patterns there are also images of alternative colorways, which may be either other historic combinations or samples reflecting more contemporary sensibilities.

The choices, however, are not limited to these examples. Additional colorways can be devised in any number of ways, including:

  • Choosing one or more alternative colors from the Adelphi Paper Hangings Studio Color Book. The book contains many of the colors we have formulated over the years, from sedate beiges and greys initially used as ground colors in the Janes and Bolles collection, to the high pitched yellows and acid greens from the golden age of French wallpapers. One or more of these can be substituted in any pattern at no additional charge. (A "loaner" copy of the color book is available for a $50. deposit.)

  • Coordinating a pattern with existing design colors. Adelphi Paper Hangings will gladly color match to color or paint chips provided by the clients. (The fee for color matching is $100. per color)

Strike Offs
Depending on the complexity and degree of color substitutions it is advisable to order a strike off, or test print, of a custom colored pattern before placing an order. Generally, we provide a strike off with several pattern repeats. The fee for strike offs is $50. per printed color, up to a maximum of $250.

NOTE: Strike offs are simply a test for color compatibility; the print quality may be less refined than the final product.

A less expensive alternative to a strike off is a simple "color sketch," which gives a general sense of how the pattern and the new colorway interact. (Color sketches will suggest the size and proportion of the color areas of a pattern but do not reproduce pattern details.)

Adelphi can provide custom reproduction of patterns not in its catalog, whether from a pattern in the client's possession or from one in an historic archive. When considering custom reproductions it is best to contact us well in advance to discuss the feasibility and costs of the project. A lead time of 4 - 6 months is usually required to duplicate designs and prepare blocks for a new pattern.

Reproduction Process
Adelphi Paper Hangings has successfully reproduced papers which date from the 1740s through the 1920s using original documents that range from an entire wall's worth of antique wallpaper to a modest box of scraps still attached to chunks of plaster.

Custom reproduction is an exacting process. Pristine samples of historic papers do occasionally turn up, but in most cases the documents are fragmented, faded, and damaged. In these cases, the initial stages of the reproduction process involve piecing together the fragments in order to reveal the complete pattern, determine its original width and repeat length and other period characteristics.

In some cases this process may require research with similar patterns of the same time period, which Adelphi can do from its own collections or through its extensive contacts within the historic restoration and museum communities.

Once the complete pattern is determined, a separate pattern is drawn for each color, which is then used to engrave pear wood printing blocks, one block for each color in the pattern.

Identifying and matching the original colors can be just as exacting as accurately reproducing the pattern since original wallpaper samples are often faded or, depending on the chemical properties of the pigment, even severely discolored. They may also have been damaged by water, smoke, etc.

But by understanding the fashions of the era, the nature of historic paints, as well as the muting effect of time, Adelphi can successfully interpret documentary evidence to arrive at very close approximations of the original document colors.

Custom colorways for the Laurel Harlequin shown above are by designer Heidi Pribell.

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