Wallpaper

Throughout the Museum and Archive of Art & Design

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Whatever you have in your rooms think first of the walls for they are that which makes your house and home

William Morris

For most of its history, wallpaper has been the poor relation of the decorative arts. Fragile, ephemeral, and easy to replace, wallpaper has often disappeared from the historical record. The V&A began collecting wallpapers from its foundation in 1856, and today has one of the finest collections in the world.

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Our wallpaper collection reveals the fascinating history of its evolution from the first black and white patterns in the 16th century, through to 18th-century flock designs, Chinese hand-painted papers, architectural papers, designs by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, and modernist and contemporary designs in the 20th century.

Features

Background image: 'Fruit' (or 'Pomegranate') wallpaper pattern, designed by William Morris, manufactured by Jeffrey & Co., 1866, England. Museum no. E.447-1919. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London