Chinoiserie Wallpaper: a 500 year old trend
Wallpaper has undergone a renaissance over the past years. Many traditional patterns are being put back into production. Moreover, new wallpaper designers such as Fromental are reinventing traditional themes. This is particularly evident with chinoiserie wallpaper.
Chinoiserie literally means ‘chinese-esque’ in French and is a European artistic style inspired by the art and design of China. It is mainly found on decorative arts including vases, textiles, furniture and wallpaper. It emerged in the 17th century when merchants returned from the East with porcelain and other objets d’art in their cargo and depicts stylised and fanciful imagery from the ‘Orient’ including inhabited landscapes, man-made structures, pagodas, lattice work, exotic birds and flowers.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the East India Company first imported hand-painted wallpapers from China which were specifically made for the European market and by the early 19th century no European palace was complete without a Chinoiserie room. Some extraordinary examples can still be seen in the Brighton Pavilon, Sans Souci, Chateau Chantilly and Nostell Priory.
Without further adieu, here is a small gallery of images of Chinoiserie wallpaper in modern interiors (and one very old one). Can you spot it?
deGournay ’portobello’ silk wallpaper
Fromental ’paradiso’ wallpaper in ultramarine
Fromental ’ sylvander’ wallpaper in burnish
Fromental ’paradiso’ wallpaper in mahogany
Thomas Chippendale at Nostell Priory via The Ornamentalist