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Wallpaper - Perspective views of a railway station
  • Perspective views of a railway station
    Potters of Darwen
  • Enlarge image

Perspective views of a railway station

  • Object:

    Wallpaper

  • Place of origin:

    Lancashire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1853 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Potters of Darwen (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour woodblock print, on paper

  • Museum number:

    E.558-1980

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

Physical description

Sample of pictorial wallpaper with perspective representations of a railway station, frequently repeated and falsifying the perspective; Colour woodblock print, on paper.

Place of Origin

Lancashire (made)

Date

ca. 1853 (made)

Artist/maker

Potters of Darwen (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Colour woodblock print, on paper

Marks and inscriptions

FALSE PRINCIPLES 27

Dimensions

Height: 50.5 cm, Width: 53 cm

Object history note

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.

Descriptive line

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.

Labels and date

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]

Production Note

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.

Materials

Paper

Techniques

Colour woodblock print

Subjects depicted

Railway stations; People; Buildings; Bridges (built works)

Categories

Wall coverings; Prints

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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