The vivid blue wallpaper in the room is a custom reproduction licensed by Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, from the historic pattern books of the royal French wallpaper manufactory started by Jean-Baptiste Réveillon and continued, after the establishment of the French republic, as Jacquemart et Bénard. Adelphi Paperhangings, Inc. produced the wallpaper using hand-ground pigments. The harmonious pattern (simply called Fleurettes, oiseaux, insectes or Flowers, birds, insects) dates to the 1790s, with graceful arcs of flowers accented by tiny, whimsical birds and insects, a timeless theme that complements the bold printed cotton.
Several important data points guided the selection of this pattern. In 1797, after eight years away, the Washingtons made substantial updates, including wallpapering throughout the house. The Philadelphia suppliers Washington purchased from, William Poyntell and Georges Bertault, specialized in highly fashionable French papers, and fragments from the surviving border in the New Room have been documented as the product of the Réveillon/Jacquemart et Bénard firm. Accordingly, curators looked to the historic collections of Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, for a c. 1790s, blue-ground paper.
Paint analysis conducted by conservator and paint analyst Susan Buck, using the latest advancements in cross-section microscopy and pigment analysis techniques, revealed far more detail about the wall finish history of this space than previous paint analysis. While the woodwork had been painted a light blue early on, by 1776, it had been changed to a light cream color, and it continued to be repainted in similar tones through the end of the century. As in the Chintz Room, the change to a neutral color was indicative of the Washingtons’ desire to keep up with fashionable taste, and strongly suggested that the Washingtons continued to update the room with wallpaper as well.