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  • Place of origin:

    England (manufactured)

  • Date:

    early 20th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sherard Cowper-Coles (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embossed zinc

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs N. McLaren

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case DW, shelf 47

Physical description

Fragment of metal wall covering, with a raised pattern of chrysanthemums.

Place of Origin

England (manufactured)


early 20th century (made)


Sherard Cowper-Coles (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Embossed zinc


Height: 58 cm, Width: 47 cm

Object history note

Given by Mrs N. McLaren.

Historical context note

See SE, p 247: 'The latest comer in relief decorative materials is steel, which is embossed and nailed generally to the rafters.'
Sherard Cowper-Coles (1866-1936), was founder of the Faraday Society: 'inventor of an electrical process for making metallic wallpaper in continuous lengths, and at a price in keen competition with that of other embossed and stamped materials for wall- and ceiling decoration. This wallpaper he claimed was damp-proof, fire-proof, economical, far more sanitary, artistic and durable than any existing wallpaper and especially suitable for railway carriages, cabins and damp walls' (A. A. McGregor, Phantom Footsteps, London, 1959, pp 182, 183).
The firm of Cowper-Coles, Sherard & Co. were metallurgists, working during the early 20th century and established in Westminster and Chelsea. Cowper-Coles was the inventor of 'sherardizing': coating with zinc by heating with zinc dust in the absence of air.

Descriptive line

Fragment of metal wall covering, with a raised pattern of chrysanthemums; probably produced by Sherard Cowper-Coles; early 20th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Oman, Charles C., and Hamilton, Jean. Wallpapers: a history and illustrated catalogue of the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Sotheby Publications, in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982.





Subjects depicted

Flowers (plants); Chrysanthemum; All-over patterns


Wall coverings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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