Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Case DW, Shelf 18

Perspective views of a railway station

Wallpaper
ca. 1853 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
In Britain, paper printed with patterns has been used for decorating walls since the 16th century. By the late 19th century wallpapers were widely used by all classes, both in homes and in public buildings.

Social Class
In the 1850s wallpapers with pictorial patterns seem to have been very popular and were sold in large quantities. However, art educators such as Richard Redgrave and Henry Cole considered such papers to be examples of bad design because they gave the illusion of three dimensions on a flat wall surface. But despite these faults there were some critics, such as a writer in the trade journal The Builder (1851), who believed that pictorial wallpapers were suitable for 'the houses of the humbler classes of society', especially if the subject depicted was educational. Most papers of this kind have not survived, but it is likely that they were used to decorate social spaces such as railway station waiting rooms, cheap hotels or public bars.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Colour woodblock print, on paper
Brief Description
Sample of pictorial wallpaper with perspective representations of a railway station, frequently repeated and falsifying the perspective; Colour woodblock print, on paper; Used to demonstrate 'False Principles of Decoration' at the Museum of Ornamental Art, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London; English; ca. 1853.
Physical Description
Sample of pictorial wallpaper with perspective representations of a railway station, frequently repeated and falsifying the perspective; Colour woodblock print, on paper.
Dimensions
  • Height: 50.5cm
  • Width: 53cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 10/04/2000 by PaperCons Estimated dimensions previously given ad 65 x 70
Marks and Inscriptions
FALSE PRINCIPLES 27 (Stuck on front of wallpaper, top-left corner.)
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Sixteen wallpaper samples in a 'variety of miserable patterns' were included in the selection of False Principles. They were intended to demonstrate patterns which were too bright, repetitive and naturalistic to work suitably as wallpaper. In this example the repetition and three dimensional nature of the pattern horrified Cole.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Produced by Potters of Darwen, Lancashire.



This wallpaper was used to demonstrate 'False Principles of Decoration' at the Museum of Ornamental Art, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London. It is listed in the catalogue of the Marlborough House collection, issued by the Department of Science and Art, 1853.
Production
This wallpaper sample was used to demonstrate 'False Principles of Decoration' at the Museum of Ornamental Art, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London. It was listed in the catalogue of the Marlborough House collection, issued by the Department of Science and Art, 1853.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
In Britain, paper printed with patterns has been used for decorating walls since the 16th century. By the late 19th century wallpapers were widely used by all classes, both in homes and in public buildings.

Social Class
In the 1850s wallpapers with pictorial patterns seem to have been very popular and were sold in large quantities. However, art educators such as Richard Redgrave and Henry Cole considered such papers to be examples of bad design because they gave the illusion of three dimensions on a flat wall surface. But despite these faults there were some critics, such as a writer in the trade journal The Builder (1851), who believed that pictorial wallpapers were suitable for 'the houses of the humbler classes of society', especially if the subject depicted was educational. Most papers of this kind have not survived, but it is likely that they were used to decorate social spaces such as railway station waiting rooms, cheap hotels or public bars.
Bibliographic References
  • 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.
  • 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. 101. pl 84.
  • Lambert, Susan (ed.) Pattern & Design: Designs for the Decorative Arts 1480-1980 London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983
Collection
Accession Number
E.558-1980

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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