In January 2019 Little Greene will be launching their 13th wallpaper collection, London Wallpapers V – a compendium of heritage designs to complement their existing wallpaper collections.
Spanning 250 years of interior decoration (from 1690 to the mid 20th century), ‘London Wallpapers V’ is a compendium of authentic heritage designs, each one sensitively remodelled and expertly coloured for the 21st century home.
With one exception, the 11 designs in the collection are based on fragments stored in English Heritage’s wallpaper archive at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, which were removed and preserved during the conservation of 18th and 19th century London houses.
The exception is a first for Little Greene and English Heritage – the original design still hangs on the walls at Brodsworth Hall, an elegant and faithfully conserved Victorian country house in South Yorkshire.
The oldest source material for London Wallpapers V actually pre-dates wallpaper: a decorative piece of leather from 1690 that would have been displayed as a hanging mural rather than glued to a wall. Other remnants include hand-blocked damasks, delicate neoclassical fragments, hand-stencilled patterns and authentic designs from the Georgian and Arts & Crafts periods.
London Wallpapers V introduces four previously unseen designs and amalgamates seven popular patterns from London Wallpapers II and III, which have been updated with the addition of 15 fresh colourways.
Brodsworth c.1863 – 3 colourways
A lively and engaging design featuring striking birds and delicate floral motifs. Slightly raised and incorporating rich gilding detail, the pattern was originally designed to be an imitation of stamped leather. Based on early-18th century French textiles and furnishings, encompassing panels, scrolls and cross hatching, this wallpaper was found at Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire, an elegant, Victorian home belonging to the Thellusson family. Used in both the library and the morning room in reverse colourways, this paper was certainly a family favourite and can still be seen in situ today.
Brook Street c.1895 – 5 colourways
In entirely different eras, two neighbouring houses in Mayfair’s fashionable Brook Street were homes to the baroque composer George Frideric Handel and rock musician Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix spent some of his short-lived musical career in a flat at No. 23, the same property from which this pattern hails. The woven cane-like design is typical of the late 19th century: an all-over pattern, which sits on a lightly brushed ground and incorporates a soft texture within its motif.
Carlton House Terrace c.1885 – 5 colourways
A flamboyant peacock feather design, found in the attics of 18 Carlton House Terrace, a beautiful stucco-faced London town house overlooking The Mall. Originally machine-printed in green on a yellow background, the contemporary surface-printed technique used to recreate it accurately reflects the original, whilst a judicious splash of colour in the feather provides something on which to anchor a contemporary scheme.
St James’s Park c.1940 – 4 colourways
This large damask pattern was found in Marlborough House, next to St James’s Park, a grand abode designed by Christopher Wren and home to the Duchess of Marlborough, friend and confidante of Queen Anne. Originally a dark blue flock on a pale blue ground, the paper is believed to be comparatively recent, though the origins of the general design are Victorian (as a
wallpaper) and older still (as a silk fabric). The twist in this interpretation is the light-to-dark ombré effect, which puts bolder colour at the base of the wall and lighter above, with the effect of making a space feel taller and lighter than it would with a conventional damask design. It is a panel design, with three panels making up one full repeat.
Bedford Square c.1900 – LWII 3 existing and 2 new colourways
One of the most impressive squares in London, Bedford Square was originally laid out in 1775–6 and, until World War II, the majority of its houses were inhabited by lawyers, architects, publishers and other professionals. The original of this paper was saved from a property in the square, and is of a design typical of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. New colourways include an uplifting green option that incorporates Acorn, Acorn Mid and Puck. The fresh background combined with the dark green fine line of Puck gives the design a more contemporary look and feel. There is also a pink option with a China Clay background and
soft, feminine Hellebore and Blush highlights.
Lansdowne Walk c.1910 – LWII 1 existing and 4 new colourways
An Arts & Crafts motif in the manner of Voysey, a leading light of the movement who was perhaps more famous as an architect than as a wallpaper designer. Although this colourful wallpaper was removed from a 19th century house in Kensington, its actual design dates it to the early 20th century.
Lauderdale c.1820 – LWII 2 existing and 1 new colourway
This paper, a variation on a striped theme, dates from around 1820, although the original fragment was discovered in a 16th century property, Lauderdale House on Highgate Hill, overlooking Hampstead Heath. The design results from stencilling as opposed to block printing: a plain green paper would have been put up on a hessian scrim stretched over the wall and then stencilled in situ.
Lower George St c.1810 – LWII 3 existing and 2 new colourways
An abstract paper, which, despite its contemporary appearance, probably dates from the early 1800s when such designs were hugely popular. The original colourway, featuring orangey stars on a pinky-yellow ground, was discovered on an upper floor of a commercial building that had been refaced in the early 19th century but was most probably a much older building.
Marlborough c.1915 – LWII 4 existing and 2 new colourways
A large-scale pattern, reminiscent of an early-20th century interpretation of one of Robert Adam’s designs. This paper was discovered just after the death of Queen Mary, who lived in Marlborough House until 1953, after which the house became the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
New Bond Street c.1690 – LWIII 4 existing colourways
Based on one of the oldest surviving documents in English Heritage’s wallpaper archive, this fragment from an embossed leather wall hanging actually predates wallpaper. Panels of embossed and painted leather, usually with a floral pattern, were popular though expensive modes of decoration in the late 16th and 17th centuries. These panels were sewn together to create large-scale decorative hangings, in much the same way that drops of wallpaper are hung side-by-side to create a more impressive statement.
Wilton c.1760 – LWIII 3 existing and 4 new colourways
A classic damask design that is very typical of the popular large-scale pomegranate patterns of the mid 18th century, this would originally have been a flock wallpaper and hung in a grand English home. Flock papers were an English speciality, being in effect imitations of expensive textiles, which were nonetheless costly to produce. As a result, they came to represent a confident statement of luxury and social status.
Keep an eye out on our website, as it will be live in the coming weeks!