Mid 20th Century & Contemporary Wallpapers

At the end of the 19th century wallpaper production shifted away from London in order to be in closer proximity to the northern cotton mills. Many of the Mid 20th Century designs here were discovered in the archives at Manchester's Whitworth Gallery.

Post 1945, the restrictions of printing methods that had hampered wallpaper patterns and production had eased, allowing more influence on design by the artistic movements of the time. Many of the 1940s and 1950s design patterns retain the narrative of the day, blending the postwar abstract expression and modernist styles. The relaxed style of the 1950s is evident in Florette c.1954, Herbes c.1955, and Bouquet c.1956.

The 1960s and 70s papers continue to narrate the style of their time, with distinctive ‘retro’ designs echoing the fashion for geometric patterns in the 1970s, seen in Lavaliers c.1975, whilst Fern c.1960 demonstrates the two-colour silk-screen prints that mimic the pop-art movement of the decade.