Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

Floral Wallpaper

727 of 1160 nominations


Floral Wallpaper

Is this an icon?


Floral Wallpaper

So beloved of country-cottage B&Bs and cosy heritage hotels, floral wallpaper springs up wherever a classic English look is required. William Morris, the Victorian designer, seems to have a lot to answer for, but wallpaper with designs inspired by nature has been adorning the more discerning homes since Tudor times. The earliest known wallpaper in England was discovered on the beams of the lodge at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and dates from 1509. The woodcut pattern depicts a pomegranate.

Wallpaper as we know it today was invented by Frenchman Jean-Michel Papillon in 1675, and as the technology of printing developed, wallpaper patterns became more elaborate and colourful. The English innovation of machine-made wallpapers in 1839 put the cabbage rose design within the budget range of almost every home. Towards the end of the century William Morris began to react against the tawdry workmanship and garish colour schemes of mass-produced wallpaper and insisted on using pure colours and high standards of craftsmanship in his work, inspired by the forms and beauty of the natural world. Have we continued to learn from his example?

Detail of Leicester wallpaper by JH Dearle from Morris and Co, in the morning room at Wightwick Manor, copyright NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel www.nationaltrust.org.uk 01902 761400


Your comments

When I think about England, I have this image in my mind of a small and cosy room, furnished with floral wallpaper (roses!). I think it is a MUST in every Bed&Breakfast and to me it is so English! I love it! Katja

Katja Schoenborn



I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer