Upcoming Exhibition | The Victorian Papered Wall

Upcoming Exhibition | The Victorian Papered Wall

International Terminal

September 2021 - August 2022

The Victorian Papered Wall

Crafted in repeating rolls and pasted to walls, wallpaper has an ephemeral quality unlike other decorative arts. But wallpaper reflects the design styles popular at the time, and in the late nineteenth century, walls richly came to life in an era like no other. Wallpaper generated endless discussion in newspapers, periodicals, and books of the day. Eclecticism prevailed—designers drew freely from world cultures and past centuries—Japan, Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, Persian and Gothic art. Tastemakers, such as the influential Englishman Charles Eastlake (1836–1906), had strong opinions about which types of wallpapers should be hung in various rooms in the home. A three-part division of walls, featuring a complementary dado, wall fill, and frieze was preferred. Intricately decorated ceiling papers and metallic inks only added to the Victorian’s love of embellishment. 

Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers was established in 1979. At their studio in Benicia, California, they hand silkscreen hundreds of historic designs with a small, dedicated staff. This exhibition celebrates Bradbury & Bradbury’s roots with six sumptuous Victorian-era room sets that feature both wall and elaborate ceiling papers—a unique specialty of the firm— from High Victorian Gothic to Herter Brothers.