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Wallpaper

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)
    Ord House (paper hung)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woodblock print with colour stencilling, on paper, varnished

  • Museum number:

    E.5311-1958

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56c, case WW

Object Type
By the 1720s Chinese hand-painted wallpapers were arriving in Britain in sufficient quantities to become fashionable as part of interior design schemes in the oriental style. The London paper-stainers (wallpaper makers) soon began to exploit this fashion by producing printed wallpapers which imitated the style of the Chinese imports.

Materials & Making
The outlines of the motifs and the cross-hatching on this wallpaper have been printed and all the colours added using stencils, except for the black ground colour, which appears to have been painted in free-hand. After printing and stencilling, this wallpaper was varnished, possibly to give a rich sheen to the surface so that it resembled Japanese lacquer, which was also fashionable in British interiors at this time.

Subjects Depicted
The Chinese wallpapers were decorated with flowering trees, birds and animals, or figures, in a non-repeating design. The maker of this wallpaper has included similar motifs - flowers, squirrels, peacocks, parakeets and a Chinese figure - but the design lacks the sophistication and the elegance of the Chinese originals. It is also crudely drawn, and has a repeating pattern.

Physical description

Six portions of wallpaper forming a repeat pattern of squirrels, peacocks, parakeets and chinoiserie figures among flowers and foliage; Woodblock print with colour stencilling, on paper, varnished.

Place of Origin

England (made)
Ord House (paper hung)

Date

ca. 1700 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Woodblock print with colour stencilling, on paper, varnished

Dimensions

Height: 259 cm approx., Width: 62 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Ord House, Berwick-on-Tweed, Northumberland.

Descriptive line

Six portions of wallpaper forming a repeat pattern of squirrels, peacocks, parakeets and chinoiserie figures among flowers and foliage; Woodblock print with colour stencilling, on paper, varnished; Provenance: Ord House, Berwick-on-Tweed, Northumberland; English; ca. 1700.

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.
Saunders, Gill. Wallpaper in Interior Decoration. V&A Publications. London. 2002. pp. 71. pl 60.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The Chinese first exported handpainted wallpapers to England in the 1690s. This printed wallpaper was made in imitation of such imports. The designer included Chinese figures and colourful birds. Wallpapers were popular as part of interior design schemes in an oriental style. [27/03/2003]

Materials

Paper; Varnish

Techniques

Woodblock print; Colour stencil

Subjects depicted

Squirrels; Parakeet; Leaf (plant material); Flowers; Chinoiserie; Figures (representations)

Categories

Wall coverings; British Galleries; Prints

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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