Weird and Wonderful Wallpapers

“My wallpaper is killing me. One of us will have to go” – Oscar Wilde.

Among many other things, the Prints, Drawings and Paintings collection also includes a spectacular selection of wallpapers. This post showcases some of the more striking, unusual and eclectic wall-coverings spanning the late 18th to the late 19th centuries. Click on the images if you would like more information about each one.

Image of a blue and grey wallpaper with a building themed design

Potters of Darwen. “Perspective views of a Railway Station”. Lancashire, 1850-1853.

Colour woodblock print.


Surreal wallpaper peopled with strange figures

F. Scott & Son. Grotesque/comic wallpaper. British, 1870s.



Image of a wallpaper with an Indian theme

Allan, Cockshut & Co. “Hindoo Gods”. London, 1880s.

Colour machine print.


Wallpaper depicting Queen Victoria

F. Scott & Son. “Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee” Hawick, Scotland, 1887.

Colour print from engraved rollers.


bb75a1e56a6116baedff34a65d6530b2Unknown. Wallpaper showing a birdcage and a drum. Lancashire, c.1800.

Etching hand-coloured with watercolours.


Wallpaper with a design of half naked women

Unknown. Risqué wallpaper for a gentleman’s club. American, c.1900.

Machine  print on laminated paper.


2 thoughts on “Weird and Wonderful Wallpapers

Jon Limbert:

Hi, I have found 2 sheets of this wallpaper up in the loft of my house when I moved in 12 years ago. It looks to be very old. Are you positive it’s from 1994? Im sure it’s Edwardian or later. I am refering to the Unknown. Risqué wallpaper for a gentleman’s club. American, c.1900

Deepinder Singh Cheema:

The F,Scott&Son Grotesque wallpaper is really cool. I hope that this was made for the Childrens Nursery market. I think it might be earlier as I own a Bayliss & Thomas Penny Farthing and made a study of 2 wheeled locomotion ( see above bunny the cycling hooligan)

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