After the success of their heritage colours paint range ‘The Colours of England’, Little Greene were invited to explore the extensive English Heritage wallpaper archive at Kenwood House. The result of this collaboration with English Heritage is the 'London Wallpapers' collections:Two stunning collections based on original documents discovered behind panelling, often up to 18 papers thick, in a range of historic London homes.
Founded on paper fragments dating back to the 16th century, these 'samples' were collected over many years and then archived at Kenwood House in London. Until the end of the Industrial Revolution in the Victorian Era, London was the centre of the wallpaper industry, with many papers replicating the textiles of the day, often being produced in a similar fashion. Such is the authenticity of the London papers that many predate the influence of the revolution itself.
Each paper in the 'London Wallpapers' range retains the essence of the original, with the designs having been re-scaled and re-coloured and then produced using current techniques.
Below are the eight original paper fragments from the archived collection that were used to create each range.
Albemarle Street. c.1760
Discovered in Albemarle Street, off Piccadilly, this design had a large pattern repeat of 6ft. It was initially manufactured in a dark blue flock on a light ground, and is similar in appearance to the Spitalfields silks created by Huguenots during the Georigan Period in central London. Unusually for such a lavish paper, it was found in a low ceilinged, second floor bedroom. An imposing paper such as this would normally have been intended to be seen. Albemarle street is today home to numerous art galleries and is the location of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.
Bayham Abbey c.1880
Apt to have been produced in London, the original fragment was unearthed at Bayham Abbey, located on the border between Sussex and Kent. Familiar of gothic style, the original was on a red ground. It was traditionally made from cellulose wood pulp and machine-printed. Bayham Abbey is currently maintained by English Heritage and consists mostly of partial walls, although there is also evidence of ornately carved stonework.
Broadwick Street c.1775
Conspicuous by its foundation on a scientifically authentic reproduction of the plant Clusia Rosea. This Plant, commonly known as Pitch-Apple was first recorded in a famous book the Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands by Robert Catesby in 1743. The Georgian Era was a time of great British Expansion throughout the world, along with a increased interest in science, which is reflected in this deisgn. The paper itself was discovered in Broadwick Street, Soho, in a row of ornate early 18th Century Houses.
Discovered in Cranford, Middlesex, this mid 18th Century design is printed on a dense hand-made rag paper. Displaying a yellow floral ogee motif, it is unusual because yellow, albeit a popular shade, was expensive and succeptable to fading. Manufactured using 'slip-printing', a method designed to make the paper appear more valuable than it really was. This was due to its 'shadow' effect, achieved by printing two different colours using the same block.
Craven Street c.1885
Discovered in a row of Georgian terraced houseing in Craven Street, parallel to Charing Cross station. A late-19th Century machine-made design, which initially might have been manufactured in a factory off Liverpool Road in Islington, which was the final wallpaper production stronghold in London. Craven Street is today home to the only remaining Benjamin Franklin House, where the founding father lived between 1757 and 1775.
Great Ormond Street c.1890
This paper was removed from the ground floor rear closet of a very early-18th Century terrace house situated opposite the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. Featuring a vibrant Parrot motif, this paper was subsequently machine-made on cellulose paper in the late 1800s. The paper is classicaly Victorian Era, the passion of wildlife and botany that was common at the time is perfectly reflected in this ubpeat design.
Soho Square c.1775
To begin with this paper was a vigourously patterned crimson flock on a pink ground, a reproduction of a design derived from silk damask work. Rather uncommonly, it was used used to paper the entirety of the first floor of a Soho Square household.Typical of silk damask work being common throughout London during the Georgian Period.
St James Place c.1760
Originally this design was produced in strong crimson flock with white highlights. St. James's Place, Piccadilly, was the up scale setting for the house within which this paper was discovered.