Wallcoverings: Wallpaper
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image 1Evidence of wall covering can be found right back in 200BC in China where paper was invented. Wall coverings were not only used as a decorative medium but as a way of insulating the walls. Wallpaper was a cheaper substitute to panelling and tapestries and became popular in the wealthy households of the 1500's.

Jean-Michel Papillon, a French engraver and considered the inventor of wallpaper, started making block designs in matching, continuous patterns in 1675, and wallpaper as we know it today was on its way. Rebecca Schunck

In the 18th Century wallpapers popularity soared. All the wealthy fashion followers wanted the latest hand printed designs and manufacturers had also started to created designs that became more affordable to the mass market.

Borders were designed at first to cover the tack holding the wallpaper to the wall. When in the 1800's it became popular to divide up the wall height with the dado, filler and frieze, borders were used to differentiate each section.

In the Regency period, military stripes, Rococo designs or a flock pattern were popular. Flock, which gave the impression of cut velvet, continued to be fashionable well into the Victorian period.

The Victorians loved strong colours decorating bold patterns of flowers or arabesque designs. Artists look upon nature and Art Nouveau designs were popular at this time.

In the later part of the Victorian period, the demand for flock wall paper went into decline. The Victorians now favored the clean hygienic look. Wallpaper became lighter in colour and was promoted as sanitized as it could be wiped down.

At the turn of the 20th Century wallpaper pasting machines first appeared. The Arts & Crafts designs became prominent and then chintz became fashionable. The Edwardians preferred a simpler pattern set upon a cream background. In the roaring twenties wallpaper hit a new high with designs. Stripes topped with floral borders and a shiny reflective finish due to a coating of mica. Futurist and Cubist designs were printed heavily. In the 40's and 50's decorative scenes of islands and other romantic settings were printed. After the Second World War vinyl wallpaper was introduced which offered washable surface that was durable and resistant to stains.




1 Virchaux Drapery, 2 Burgandy Stripe, 3 Royal Crescent 4 Carlyle Damask

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1 Cornucopia Damask, 2 Peacock , 3 Uppark Ogee 4Willow Bough

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1 Edwardian Stripe 2 Edwardian Lincrusta

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1920's - 1970's

1 Art Deco Flock 2 1930's Floral Wallpaper 3 1940 Pink 'n Purple Floral 4 1970's brown circle geometric

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From residential or commercial, interior to exterior, we cover all aspects of decorating:Decorators West London


Fabrics and Wallpapers for Historic Buildings

Period Finishes and Effects

Wallpaper in America: From the 17C to W W I



Hamilton Weston Archive of Historic Wallpapers

Adelphi Paper Hangings

J.R. Burrows & Company: Historical Design Merchants USA

Original vintage wallpaper from 1950 to 1980: Johnny-Tapete

Arts & Craft Home

Designer wallpaper: Totally Home

Historic Style Canada


Links to Wallpaper Articles

Wallpaper History Society

Wallpaper History by Rebecca Schunck

Vintage Block Print Wallpaper: Flower Press Blog


Wallpaper that moves- You Tube


Art Deco House Style

Understanding the Edwardian and Inter-War Houses

Thirtiestyle: Home Decoration








Post War

Web www.freepedia.co.uk