Wallpapers, expensive as they were, were used only in the house’s public rooms such as parlours, dining rooms and hallways. Family bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms tended to be painted or tiled.
The types of historic wallpapers available fall into two main categories: Relief wallpapers and decorative wallpapers.
Relief wallpapers include but are not limited to Lincrusta wallpaper and Anaglypta wallpaper. Relief wallpaper typically features a raised 3 dimensional pattern and are white or off white in colour. Once on the wall they meant to be painted and this can be done using a single colour or a base colour with highlights or other paint effects. Lincrusta is very thick and heavy and was the first washable wallcovering, invented by Frederick Walton whose father pioneered the linoleum floor covering in the 1860s, hence it’s durable and heavy nature. It requires cutting and soaking before hanging in order to soften the wallpaper and avoid cracking.
Anaglypta was invented in 1887 by Thomas Palmer in Lancaster and is much more similar in nature to a standard type of wallpaper with no special techniques required to hang it. It can be used in a similar way to Lincrusta with special highlight paint effects applied to create a stunning finish.
Patterned wallpapers are available in many original Victorian designs and although expensive, do not need to be purchased in vast quantities in order to use them to create a feature in your home. The Victorian wallpaper design style was to use patterned wallpaper between the dado rail and the picture rail only, so in the average sized room in a Victorian house this will equate to around 1 roll of wallpaper or less per wall by the time the square meterage of windows and doors is deducted.
Some examples of historic wallpaper:
Shrewsbury Welby: c.1845 A complex and boldly coloured design, this was designed by Pugin for the Earl of Shrewsbury for Ingestre Hall
Triad: c.1848 A powerful geometric design, this was submitted by Pugin as part of his portfolio for the redecoration of the Royal Apartments in the Palace of Westminster
Amicia: c.1885 Discovered on the walls of the Billiard Room at Stokesay Court, Shropshire, this is undoubtedly Chinese in inspiration, and as such reflects the 19th century fascination with chinoiserie
The Victorian Emporium sells the full range of beautiful Victorian historic wallpaper patterns for every room in your house. We also sell Anaglypta and Lincrusta relief wallpapers for hallways and reception rooms giving that genuine period look. You can read our ultimate guide to period property renovation here.