In the past, walls were decorated in some fashion, usually by painting directly upon the plaster. Later, tapestries, silk and paneling took the place of this fresco work and in the homes of the wealthy, giving a beautiful decorative background for the architectural finish and detail of the other furnishings. Cottages and smaller homes in the early Victorian era were ordinarily plain plaster. Distinctions in social standing were apparent in the differences between the furnishings and wallcoverings of a grand mansion and farmhouse. Machine made paper arose in the 19th century, with the more exquisite patterns featuring designs by Walter Crane and William Morris.
Walter Crane was one of the most important designers of the Arts and Crafts movement. He developed his figurative style through his picture-books for children, for which he is famous. The best known of his works, Baby’s Opera and The First of May are revelations in their own way. But Crane was always, and in everything, a decorator. His gift as an ornamental designer and decorator are apparent in his Walter Crane Arts and Crafts designs in Victorian wallpaper. Crane designed many exquisite patterns of wallpaper, some which are still reproduced today to decorate homes. Crane designed elaborate schemes of decoration in wallpaper — friezes, fields, dados, and ceilings — block-printed or stamped and gilded.
William Morris led the Arts and Crafts movement of the 1860s to 1910. Morris set up own company with fellow artists called Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co in 1861, (later just Morris & Co), which produced everything from furniture and textiles to wallpaper and jewelry. Great pains were taken by William Morris personally in the preparation of pure and lasting colors, nothing
being spared to that end; some of his vats requiring years to bring
their dyes to perfection. William Morris Victorian Wallpaper Designs, bearing the stamp of his
strong color sense and sobriety of taste, notwithstanding many
imitations are inimitable. William Morris wallpaper of the 1870s
were peculiarly unique both in coloring and design, the latter from
Morris's own hand, the former under his special supervision.
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Paint Apps for the Victorian House
Today's homeowners can preview and interact with a paint manufacturer’s color swatches and products to virtually create the room of their dreams long before picking up a paint brush with the help of mobile paint apps for both iPhone and Android platforms. When painting a Victorian style room, color has the power to alter the apparent proportions of a room. Red contracts, blue and yellow expand. Green, unless very dark, has little effect upon, the room, keeping the walls, as decorators say, well in place. Tan, gray, blue and pink have the effect of adding space, while brown, unless very light, has the same quality as green.
Wallpaper for the 1900 House
Are you a "do it yourself" decorator? Learn how to select wallpaper designs for your home. Many excellent reproductions of Victorian wallpaper are available and they are as pleasing today as they were over a hundred years ago. Printed wallpaper for the Victorian 1900 house featured designs for the entrance hall, dining room, living room, morning room, bedrooms, a nursery, and kitchen.
These wall coverings — handsome, dignified, and decorative — still occupy a first place in Victorian style houses where the decorative quality of woodwork and furniture can stand their massive weight, sturdy, vigorous line, and handsome rendering. They do, however, require for the most part, heavy massive woodwork, wainscoting to chair rails, deep toned colors in hangings and upholstery, and decorative chairs of the later periods. Nevertheless, their adaptation to more modern homes can be made with care and thought.
Regency & Antique Wallpaper
Antique wallpaper of expensive styles and artistic variety were brought to America as early as 1735. Rolls of wallpaper did not appear in America until 1790, so most designs imported before this time arrived in square sheets. French influence dominated the design of domestic wallpapers; but by the end of the eighteenth century, Philadelphia had become the center of wallpaper production in the United States. Many collections of Regency wallpaper designs are reproduced today including wallpaper patterns and border samples from the circa 1815 period. Various wallpaper designs were produced by the Philadelphia firm of Messrs. Virchaux & Co.