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 MB2B, Shelf DW16

Wallpaper Border

ca. 1830 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
In the 18th century wallpapers were often fixed to the wall with nails or tacks, rather than pasted up. Printed borders were used to conceal the heads of the tacks and to give a neat and finished appearance to the papered wall. The fashion for using borders continued even when methods of hanging wallpapers changed and borders were no longer strictly necessary. By the early 19th century borders were available in elaborate designs to use as a frieze decoration around the upper part of the room.

Design & Designing
This wallpaper border is designed to look like a plaster frieze or cornice, especially when viewed from a distance. The motifs of the swan, acanthus leaves and flower heads are all derived from classical architecture.

People
This wallpaper comes from the stock of Messrs Cowtan & Sons Ltd, an important interior decorating company based in Oxford Street, London, from the 1820s to the 1930s. They succeeded two other well-known wallpaper suppliers, J. Duppa and J.G. Crace. Cowtan supplied wallpapers to customers all over the country.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Colour woodblock print, on paper
Brief Description
Wallpaper border with a trompe-l'oeil design imitating moulding decorations of swans, stylised foliage and festoon of flowers, in white on blue ground; Colour woodblock print, on paper; From the stock of Cowtan & Sons; England; ca.1830.
Physical Description
Wallpaper border with a trompe-l'oeil design imitating moulding decorations of swans, stylised foliage and festoon of flowers, in white on blue ground; Colour woodblock print, on paper.
Dimensions
  • Paper height: 23cm
  • Paper width: 52cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 06/05/1999 by KN
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Wallpapers with Classical motifs were a fashionable feature in Regency interiors and deep borders became particularly popular. Wallpapers at this time were printed with wooden blocks. As each colour was added, the effect of three-dimensional modelling was enhanced, giving them the appearance of friezes made of moulded plasterwork.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Presented in memory of Arthur Barnard Cowtan OBE, by his son, A. L. Cowtan
Object history
Given by Mr A. L. Cowtan in memory of his father, Arthur Barnard Cowtan, OBE.
Production
Provenance: The stock of Cowtan & Sons Ltd, successors of J. Duppa, J. G. Crace etc.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
In the 18th century wallpapers were often fixed to the wall with nails or tacks, rather than pasted up. Printed borders were used to conceal the heads of the tacks and to give a neat and finished appearance to the papered wall. The fashion for using borders continued even when methods of hanging wallpapers changed and borders were no longer strictly necessary. By the early 19th century borders were available in elaborate designs to use as a frieze decoration around the upper part of the room.

Design & Designing
This wallpaper border is designed to look like a plaster frieze or cornice, especially when viewed from a distance. The motifs of the swan, acanthus leaves and flower heads are all derived from classical architecture.

People
This wallpaper comes from the stock of Messrs Cowtan & Sons Ltd, an important interior decorating company based in Oxford Street, London, from the 1820s to the 1930s. They succeeded two other well-known wallpaper suppliers, J. Duppa and J.G. Crace. Cowtan supplied wallpapers to customers all over the country.
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.
  • Saunders, Gill. Wallpaper in Interior Decoration. V&A Publications. London. 2002. pp. 38. pl 30.
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design & Department of Paintings, Accessions 1939, published under the Authority of the Ministry of Education, London, 1950 Given by Mr. Noel D. Sheffield, F.R.I.B.A.'
Collection
Accession Number
E.66-1939

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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