Wallpaper in the Archive of Art & Design

Wallpaper sample, Jacqueline Groag, late 1950s. Museum no. AAD-1994-2-19-2

'Isabella', wallpaper sample by Jacqueline Groag, late 1950s. Museum no. AAD-1994-2-19-2

The V&A's Archive of Art and Design holds the working papers of individual artists and designers, as well as the records of companies and associations involved in all aspects of applied art and design. The archives can be consulted by appointment at Blythe House, located near Olympia in West London. Further information about the Archives.

Wallpaper design is represented in the archives by a collection that spans most of the 20th century. The archive of Thomas Acland Fennemore includes a folder of his wallpaper designs and papers relating to the Historical and British Wallpapers exhibition of 1945. There are wallpaper samples by Jacqueline Groag from the 1950s and 1960s as well as a selection of undated designs, press cuttings and tearsheets. There is also an intriguing collection of unattributed carpet, rug and wallpaper designs dating from 1905–1925 which dealers have suggested may be early work by Rene Magritte, Victor Servranckx or Edgard Tytgat.

Freelance designer W.Gordon Hunton set up his own firm in the early 1900s selling wallpaper and textile designs to manufacturers such as Liberty & Co. and the Calico Printers' Association. The archive contains photographs of Hunton and his employees in the firm's studio as well as photographs of their wallpaper designs. There are also working and presentation designs for wallpapers, wallpaper samples and pages from the catalogues of wallpaper retailers. Hunton also patented a glass design repeater which enabled the testing of a design's repetition. The legal correspondence surrounding this patent as well as the repeating glass itself can also be found in the archive.

Wallpaper design

  • Carpet, rug and wallpaper designs, about 1905–25.
    AAD/1984/12
  • T.A. Fennemore, pottery, textile and wallpaper designer: papers, 1924–58.
    AAD/1983/3
  • Jacqueline and Jacques Groag, textile and wallpaper designer; architect: papers, about 1929–85.
    AAD/1994/2, AAD/1995/17
  • W. Gordon Hunton, textile designer: records, 1903–44.
    AAD/1987/4

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