Earlier this year we received an offer that ticked every box for us (except for the one about a known designer): A late 1960s wallpaper in perfect condition with an interesting back story about a home, a family and a particular DIY incident. Today's blog post is about the newest addition to MoDA's collection: A Dick Turpin the highwayman themed wallpaper from the 1960s.
|Sample of Dick Turpin themed wallpaper, ca.1955, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, BADDA4864|
The donor recalls that as soon as the paper went up, the family (Peter's wife and daughter) realized it was a mistake. However he persevered and completed it. The room was photographed by Jack Warner - an employee of a camera shop where Peter's wife worked as a cleaner.
|Photograph of the front room at 13, Raleigh Road, Penge by Jack Warner, around 1960, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, (BADDA4865.1)|
|Photograph of the door into the hall, from the front room at 13, Raleigh Road, Penge, around 1960, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (BADDA4865.2)|
|Photograph of Peter Joseph Brown on Raleigh Road, Penge, around 1960, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture ( BADDA4865.4)|
|Photograph of 13, Raleigh Road, Penge, around 1960, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (BADDA4865.3)|
The bay window with the netting curtains is the one for the front room shown in the photographs above.
When MoDA relocated to Colindale, we cut back on acquiring new things for the collection because our new collection store was less spacious. New acquisitions are exciting, but they take up time, space and resources. We try and balance getting new things with spending time and resources on the wonderful collections we already have to make these more accessible to the public.
But even with restrictions on what we can acquire, we understood earlier this year, how significant this offer by Peter Joseph Brown's family was. We see it as one of the more special papers in our collection now. Along with the photographs and other documents supplied by the donor, we have been able to recount the story of how the wallpaper was used. We also appreciate how this story challenges the assumptions we have made about the way consumers use wallpaper and what designs belong in what parts of a home.