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Wallpaper -
The Great
British
Revival

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Wallpaper has a history dating back to the 16th Century when it was used to decorate inside cupboards and the smaller rooms of Merchants houses rather than the opulent homes of the aristocracy.

By the beginning of the 20th Century, wallpaper had mass appeal. It was being used in all rooms and in the houses of the rich and poor alike.

The 1960s and 1970s represented a high point for many wallpaper manufacturers when sales were strong and designs were bold and modern. But the oil crisis of 1973 led to a significant reduction in the size of the industry world-wide, with many firms going out of business or being taken over by large international corporations.

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Increasing competition from the paint industry and the popularity of finishes like stippling and rag-rolling in the 1980s also led to reductions in sales and the only areas of growth were in the cheaper, mass-produced goods sold in DIY superstores. More recently, however, wallpaper has undergone a revival in its fortunes.

The fashion for feature walls has encouraged a taste for larger, more assertive patterns while the development of digital printing and the revival of screen-printing has enabled artists and freelance designers to get involved.

British designers Deborah Bowness and Tracy Kendall make bespoke and limited edition papers that are more like installations than wallpapers, exclusively available in NZ from Artisan. Firms like the London-based House of Hackney, who create traditional painterly prints using a modern day exquisite colour palette, and the involvement of big names from the world of fashion, such as Vivienne Westwood, have helped to make wallpaper the essential background for a bold 21st-century lifestyle.

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The British wallpaper industry has always had a strong, steady stream of creativity & innovation, watched by the global industry and often replicated. 

A select set of British designers apply their print designs to fabrics and other household items, as well as wallpaper and have created globally renown Interiors brands, with a 'Made in Britain' stamp of high quality.

Keith Stephenson & Mark Hampshire, the London duo behind Mini-Moderns (exclusive to Artisan in NZ) have drawn on influences stretching from mid-century British textiles to vintage toys and from literature to childhood memories. The result is a collection of striking and unique designs which allow us to reminisce, in style, about the good ol' days.  

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Ella Doran, is another British designer who has made a global name for herself, through her pioneering application of photography-based images and patterns onto functional, household products. Ella's wallpapers are exclusively available from Artisan in NZ.

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Childhood friends Vanessa Barneby & Alice Gates, have grown a quintessential British cottage industry into a global brand. From a barn in Wiltshire, the duo hand draw motifs and use traditional print techniques to create Barneby Gates wallpapers & fabrics, the epitome of 'Country Cool'.

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