Object Timeline


  • Work on this object began.


  • Work on this object ended.


  • We acquired this object.



  • You found it!


This is a Sidewall. It is dated 1905–1910 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is block printed, glazed, embossed paper. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

The proposed acquisition is one roll of embossed imitation leather wallpaper containing an art nouveau design. The pattern is a repeating design of a single motif, a stylized ear of wheat or other grain, lined up in offset horizontal rows. This is printed in earthy green and brown on a tan ground which were popular color choices in the early years of the twentieth century and support the contemporary motif.

Leather papers have been popular since the late nineteenth century and found a renewed interest during the Colonial Revival movement of the early twentieth century. Imitation leather papers were among the more expensive wallpapers as they were woodblock printed, embossed on heavy paper stock, then antiqued or glazed by hand with an oil color. The majority of these papers copied historic or antique patterns, but leather papers were also designed in a contemporary style as this design illustrates.

Cooper Hewitt has a small fragment of this design in the collection. It is less than a full repeat and is printed in a different colorway. The museum’s collection includes about 90 samples of imitation leather papers produced in Japan, France, England, Germany, and the United States, with the majority produced in Japan. This wallpaper offers a good example of a leather paper designed with contemporary styling. It is beneficial to have designs in multiple colorways as it helps document trending colors and different choices available to consumers.

This object was donated by Jed Johnson Associates. It is credited Gift of Jed Johnson Associates.

Its dimensions are

H x W (width): 51 cm (20 1/16 in.) roll

It is inscribed

Printed on verso: Sidewall 1373 PL 3.

Cite this object as

Sidewall; block printed, glazed, embossed paper; H x W (width): 51 cm (20 1/16 in.) roll; Gift of Jed Johnson Associates; 2016-46-1

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-4.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108729699/ |title=Sidewall |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=20 January 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>