Floral wallpaper, 1815

This fragment of hand-painted floral wallpaper dates from 1815. It was made by the Crace family of decorators and originally hung in the Long Gallery of the Royal Pavilion.

What can we see?

Chinese flora

The fragment shows detailed and delicately shaded flowers and foliage. The floral designs were probably inspired by decorations found on Chinese porcelain and wallpaper.

Chinese wallpapers were popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Known as ‘India papers’, they were hung in at least 13 of the rooms in the Royal Pavilion.

These wallpapers were not used in China, but produced solely for European export. Decorative items such as wallpaper, porcelain, and textiles would have been imported by the captains of East India Company ships.

Painted not printed

The wall decoration was hung on stretched, fine linen canvas and hand-painted in pink and blue distemper.

As the wallpaper was hung on canvas, it could be moved from room to room if needed. This would not have been possible if the paper was directly pasted onto the wall.

Author: Beverley Green

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