Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas-themed wallpaper?!?

MoDA's Assistant Curator, Maggie Wood, finds something surprising in the museum store...

Whilst digging around in the store at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture recently I came across what I presumed was a small wallpaper sample book. According to the label on the outside of the (protective, acid-free) wrapper it was a Sandersons sample book dating from 1959-1960 (BADDA 2039). It was one of a number of wallpaper sample books I brought out of the store because of the date when it was produced, as the researchers visiting the Study Room that afternoon were interested in wallpapers from the 1950s and early 60s. 

It soon became apparent that it wasn't going to be particularly useful as far as their research was concerned. But we were all amazed to find that it contained a small number of Christmas and Easter-themed designs. "Would you really decorate just for Christmas?" we wondered. Well maybe you would, if you had the finances to stretch to such extravagances. But on closer inspection we discovered that these weren't wallpapers at all, but 'decorative papers for commercial purposes'. A small piece of introductory text printed at the start of the book explains in more detail. I particularly like the modest, and understated opening line:

"This range of Sanderson Decorative Papers is the most fascinating collection of patterns and colours ever assembled and the best and most comprehensive in existence. To all engaged in decoration for commercial purposes, whether boxes, cartons, silverware, cases, packs, books, showcards and display stands, the range provides endless scope and pleasure for creative work and the interpretation of individual ideas."

Well, this all made much more sense, and explained why some of the Christmas papers were particularly thin, far too thin to be successfully applied to a wall. But as wrapping paper, I think they would really work. So to get you in the festive spirit, here are some of  these wonderfully evocative Christmas papers.
And if anyone does re-wallpaper purely for Christmas, we'd love to hear from you.

Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture

Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture

Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture
Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture

1 comment:

  1. While renovating our 1912 home in Indiana we discovered red and white "fireworks" patterned wallpaper on the kitchen ceiling... so I suppose anything is possible!