Architectural papers in a variety of styles were available from the mid-18th century, and continued to be popular until the mid 19th century. As well as elaborate renderings of sculpture, architectural features, and plaster-work, there were papers printed as trompe l'oeil imitations of masonry, marble, and later, brickwork, tiling and woodgrain.
The status of flock wallpaper has undergone a dramatic transformation over the space of three centuries. Once a luxury product used by the wealthy in the grandest apartments, it has declined into cliché, most familiar (at least in Britain) as nothing more than a commonplace decoration in Indian restaurants where it is intended to evoke an atmosphere of Colonial grandeur.
Wallpaper design reform
Pugin's principle of historical authenticity in the design of ornament, and his belief that only flat patterns should adorn flat surfaces, became the fundamental tenets of the design reform movement. In the 1850s these ideas were promoted through the Government's Schools of Design in South Kensington, and by several individuals connected with them: the painter Richard Redgrave, Principal of the School; Sir Henry Cole, a civil servant, and later the V&A's first Director; and Owen Jones, a leading designer and architect.
Walter Crane cover design for ‘Illustrations of the Victorian Series and Other Wall-Papers’
This design for the cover of a book of wallpapers manufactured by Jeffrey and Co was created by Walter Crane (1845-1915) in 1887. This image shows a winged young man blowing a horn or trumpet, surrounded by swirling acanthus leaves. Walter Crane's monogram - his initials and a crane - can be seen at the bottom right hand corner of the design.