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A decorative paper used to cover interior walls and ceilings. Wallpaper was used as early as 200 BCE in China and by the 15th century in Europe. Prior to 1835, wallpaper was typically made by painting, block printing, or stenciling designs with distemper colors onto single sheets of handmade paper. Gum arabic or glue media were used with colors such as lake, vermilion, rose pink, Prussian blue, verditer, indigo, yellow ocher, Persian berries, logwood, ivory black, and lead white. In the 1830s, long rolls of machine-made wallpaper were introduced using calico printing machines. Faster drying inks were used for the colored designs. The paper was filled with clay and sized with resin or glue. The previously mentioned colors were still used with the addition of new colors such as chrome yellow, Scheele's green, and synthetic ultramarine blue. Polished finishes were added to some papers using talc, wax soap, or varnishes.

See also wallpaper paste.


Synonyms and Related Terms

wall paper; Tapete (Deut.); behang (Ned.); tapet (Sven.)

Additional Information

° C.Lynn. "Colors and other Materials of Historic Wallpaper" p.58-65 in Wallpaper Conservation: A Special Issue. JAIC, 20(2): 50-151, 1981. ° E.J.LaBarre, Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Paper-making, Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, 1969. ° Philippa Mapes, "Historic Wallpaper Cosnervation" Building Conservation Directory 1997: Link

Additional Images


  • The Dictionary of Paper, American Paper Institute, New York, Fourth Edition, 1980
  • E.J.LaBarre, Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Paper-making, Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, 1969
  • Edward Reich, Carlton J. Siegler, Consumer Goods: How to Know and Use Them, American Book Company, New York City, 1937
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989

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