History of Wallpaper

Look Back at the History of Wallpaper

Wallpaper, also known as the ornamental and utilitarian paper that covers walls with marvellous designs, was introduced in Europe during the latter part of the 15th century and developed after the concept of papermaking was introduced. Made from long sheets of paper that have been painted, stencilled, or printed with any design you can possibly think of, it is often assumed that it was invented by the Chinese. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that proves it was used around Asia before it was developed in Europe.
The earliest mention of wallpaper being used was in England and France where it was often hand-painted or stencilled. In the 17th century, around approximately 1680, decorative techniques expanded into block printing and flocking, a process wherein designers would use powdered wool or metallic powder and sprinkle it over designs that had been drawn on paper with a slow-drying adhesive or varnish.
More contemporary styled wallpaper that had flock work on were done on painted Chinese papers. These materials first arrived in Europe toward the end of the 17th century and were initially called India papers, produced especially for the European market. Wallpapers with more unique qualities, such as those lacking repetitive designs, were highly prized. These were produced by etched plates or woodblocks, followed by colour application via hand or stencil. Due to its aesthetic beauty and expensive cost, many of these types of wallpapers are preserved around Nostell Priory, Woburn Abbey and, North Yorkshire.
It was in the 18th century when development really advanced. In France and England, various styles such as the chintz patterns, satin grounds, stripes, and more came along. To add, with the help of more technical advances during that era, wallpaper became widely accessible. In 1785, Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf invented the first machine that could print wallpaper, followed by Louis Robert who created a process that allowed for manufacturing endless rolls.
French designs boomed in the early part of the 19th century with Jean-Baptiste Réveillon’s flock papers and distemper-coloured papers and Joseph Dufour’s iconic panoramic decorations. It ranged from country landscape designs to architectural forms featuring columns, capitals, and even narrative themes that had to be hanged in a certain sequence to accurately match scenes.
Around the mid-19th century, machine-printed wallpaper was created by a firm of printers in Lancashire. This was followed by a revolution in wallpaper design, sparked by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement.
In the 100 years that followed, development slowed down but in the 1950s and ’60s wallpaper design and manufacture boomed. With the technological advancements achieved throughout those years, designers were now able to decorate wallpaper with photogravure and use high-speed techniques.
Much like anything in the design world, the wallpaper industry has stood the test of time by jumping into modern trends that have ranged from early designs to the latest fashion in visual arts. With the help of plastic coating, durability and maintenance of wallpaper have improved over the years. No matter what design it is you are looking for Yes My Design is able to produce and assure you that, just like wallpaper’s long history, your wallpaper will stay on for many years to follow.