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History of Wallpaper

Where did Wallpaper come from?

Wall Covering, Digitally printed Wall Murals, Print Wallpaper, Scenic Backdrops, Leopard Wallpaper Print, Photography backdrop, Custom Wallpaper, Print wallpaper

The following is a brief overview of the history of wallpaper.

The history of wallpaper finds its roots in the Far East. Wallpaper was first introduced in Ancient China. This was because the Chinese invented paper. This seemed to be the start of the history of wallpaper. They glued rice paper to their walls as early as 200 BC. In 105 AD Ts’ai Lun invented papermaking from textile waste for example; rags, which was the foundation of the paper we use today.

Several Chinese prisoners kept captive by the Arabs used their paper making skills in the 8th century. This is how papermaking spread throughout the Middle East. The Arabians substituted linen fibres for wood and bamboo, making the texture of paper much finer, achieving a much higher quality.

In the 12th century the Europeans learnt the paper making skill. They decided to make religious prints, the earliest known in 1418 being a representation of the virgin mary which now resides in the Royal Library at Brussels. Historians believe that this printing method was used a lot earlier in the 5th century by the Chinese.

The history of wallpaper continues in France where in 1481 jean Bourdichon painted 50 rolls of wallpaper for King Louis XI. He painted angels on a blue background. Because the king moved frequently from castle to castle, it was necessary for it to be portable. Other wealthy Europeans commissioned artists to paint wallpaper.

In 1675 a French engraver named Jean-Michael Papillon was considered the inventor of wallpaper. This is because he used the method of matching block designs in matching continuous patterns.

In 1778 King Louis XVI made it the law that a length of wallpaper must be about 34 feet. In 1785 the French Christophe- Philippe Oberkampf invented the first wallpaper printing machine. In 1850 eight colour printing machines were available and in 1874 the twenty colour printing machine was invented. In 1888 ready to use wallpaper paste was invented, leading to the invention of the wallpaper pasting machine in the 20th century and so changed the history of wallpaper.

Rooms were very elaborately printed in the Victorian Era, and the popular cabbage rose and arabesque patterns were affordable to most people. William Morris was a very famous Victorian artisan, creating Art Noveau.

The Second World War saw a revolution in the wallpaper industry, and plastic resins were used because they were stain resistant, washable, and strong. A few years after the war, patterned walls came back into fashion.

Recent advances in technology have allowed modern printing to replicate historical paper. Wallpaper can now be pre pasted, washable, long lasting and is extremely durable. Any style of any period can be reproduced, and they are affordable.

the history of wallpaper continues today with all the modern advancements in technology and will be an ever evolving industry.

If you have anything to add to the history of wallpaper, please email us at

King Louis - History of wallpaper

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