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  • Design
    Godwin, Edward William, born 1833 - died 1886
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1872 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Godwin, Edward William, born 1833 - died 1886 (designer)
    Jeffrey & Co. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on tracing paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Edward Godwin, son of the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case SS, shelf 63

Object Type
This is the design drawing for a piece of wallpaper. Designs drawings vary greatly from rough sketches to highly finished design drawings, depending on their position in the design process. This design is very detailed and close in appearance to the printed wallpaper.

Design & Designing
Godwin first designed wallpapers in 1872 but was already a successful architect by that time. His wallpapers were produced at a time when the wallpaper industry in England was booming. Godwin introduced a new style of pattern for wallpaper that was highly original combining both English and Japanese influences. These designs were very different from the other commercially produced designs available at the time. Colour played a very important part in Godwin's work, especially in his Japanese influenced designs. The combination of colours in this design is typical of those seen in Japanese prints.

This wallpaper is similar to the designs of William Morris in its use of floral patterns. Godwin used Morris's wallpapers to decorate his own home. In 1866 Metford Warner joined the Wallpaper manufacturing company Jeffrey & Co. He was inspired by William Morris's work and began to commission artists and architects to design wallpapers. This paper was called 'Bamboo' and was one of the papers commissioned from Godwin.

Physical description

Design for wallpaper, showing bamboo leaves and formalized Japanese flowers; Inscribed and dated on the back by the artist Wall Decoration, November 1872; Watercolour on tracing paper.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)


1872 (made)


Godwin, Edward William, born 1833 - died 1886 (designer)
Jeffrey & Co. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on tracing paper

Marks and inscriptions

Wall Decoration. November 1872
Inscribed and dated on the back by the artist.


Height: 53.9 cm, Width: 57.3 cm

Object history note

Given by Mr Edward Godwin, son of the artist.

Descriptive line

Design for wallpaper, showing bamboo leaves and formalized Japanese flowers; Watercolour on tracing paper; Edward William Godwin; Produced by Jeffrey & Co.; England; 1872.

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.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Japanese motifs and the Japanese depiction of nature often inspired the work of E.W. Godwin. This wallpaper design by him features bamboo leaves, a popular Japanese motif found on fashionable objects such as this comb. His decorative combination of foreground and background patterns also derives from Japanese art. [27/03/2003]


Tracing paper; Watercolour


Painting (image-making)

Subjects depicted

Japanese flowers; Bamboo


Designs; Wall coverings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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