Little Greene Paint Blog

  • Archive Trails

    ‘Archive Trails’ from Little Greene: an archive-inspired anthology of English and French trailing wallpaper motifs.

    Over the last decade, Little Greene has established a tradition for sourcing authentic archive wallpaper designs and cleverly adapting their patterns and colours to suit 21st Century living. As its name suggests, the tenth collection, ‘Archive Trails’, is a joyful celebration of floral trail wallpapers, which have been drawn from a number of highly respected resources including English Heritage, Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery and historical documents from France. Marrying designs from the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries, this harmonious portfolio of seven wallpapers, in multiple colourways, encapsulates the  enduring popularity of trailing floral and bird motifs in surface design.

    Trailing florals have been the subject of decorative pattern since long before the mechanisation of wallpaper production and the ensuing fashion for repeating pattern. Traditionally, the scenes depicted in early 18th Century interiors were painted by hand; in effect, bespoke murals. This artisan form of decoration was the precursor to the tighter, more structured designs we have come to understand and appreciate as conventional wallpaper over the last two Centuries.

    In the early 19th Century, regimented trellis and smaller, geometric patterns celebrated the new uniformity that could be achieved by machine printing. However, as techniques became more sophisticated, some classic rococo and baroque elements - in particular ornate flowers and exotic bird motifs - were, by the mid 19th Century, enjoying a resurgent popularity. In the careful redrawing of these seven historical designs, ‘Archive Trails’ champions both the discovery and subsequent rediscovery of flamboyant floral wallpaper patterns.

    As is customary with Little Greene’s wallpapers, each design has prescribed its own print techniques, including tactile surface print and shimmering mica grounds, to achieve a timeless surface finish of the highest quality. Alongside the ‘Colours Of England’, a renowned palette of coordinating paint shades, this collection will truly lift the walls of traditional and contemporary homes alike!

    David Mottershead, MD of Little Greene enthuses: ‘At Little Greene we have established a tradition for unearthing document designs and breathing new life into them. Oversized florals coupled with exotic birds are traditional and yet very much on-trend right now. Working closely with a team of experts, we have been able to recreate archive fragments in a contemporary yet enduring way and have incorporated colours and scales to suit modern day interiors.’

    Little Greene 2016 Archive Trails 06_LR Darwin - Serein

    Darwin (c1760) represents one of the Whitworth Art Gallery’s most important recent acquisitions and, with a twist in its story, this exemplary English piece was actually found intact in a house in Aix-en-Provence, France. The exotic scene accurately imitates a typical 18th Century hand-painted Chinese paper, but the tax stamp, still visible on the back of the original rag paper, categorically identifies it as English in origin. The colours interpreted in the ‘Serein’ colourway are very true to the original - a surprisingly (and wonderfully) well-preserved archive document.

    Little Greene 2016 Archive Trails 07_LR Gustav - Trophy

    Gustav (c1875) was found in poor condition, making it somewhat difficult to date accurately, but English Heritage archivists estimate it as mid-late 18th Century. Found in Eagle House, a Jacobean manor in Wimbledon, it bears the hallmarks of a classic block print, but in fact some of the flowers on the original were painted by hand and applied over the pre-printed trail as part of a decorative border. The scale of the pattern is reminiscent of a large damask design, but the muted colourways adapted for ‘Archive Trails’ mean this paper can be used all-over, without overpowering a room.

    Little Greene 2016 Archive Trails 11_LR China Rose - Blue Lustre

    China Rose (c1885) is a classic flamboyant floral, taken from a late 19th Century French hand-painted ‘Peking Stripe’ fabric with a distinct Chinese influence. The distressed opaque colours in the leaves and petals portray the hand of the original artist, in contrast with a judicious modern-day use of mica and metallic inks as witnessed in some colourways.

    Little Greene 2016 Archive Trails 09_LR Vine - Bleu

    Vine (c1932), taken from the archive at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, offers an unmistakeable nod to William Morris, the father of the late 19th Century Arts & Crafts movement. An authentic surface print technique has been employed to reproduce this contemporary version, with the blue colourway being very close to the original in colour – despite the poor condition of the background colour on the surviving fragment.

    Little Greene 2016 Archive Trails 03_LR Sakura - Yellow Lustre

    Sakura (c1936) is a pretty trail of matt leaves and delicate blossom originating in France. The surface detail has been retained, contributing to its charming layered depth, whilst the colouration has retained an elegant, seductive informality. A mica ground has been used on some colourways to exaggerate the interplay of light and contrast on the surface of the paper.

    Little Greene 2016 Archive Trails 17_LR Paradise - Feather

    Paradise (c1940) celebrates a truly rich mix of styles. The English Heritage-owned document from which this paper is drawn is actually a 20th Century piece, but the subject – exotic flora and the familiar oriental ho-ho birds - is classic ancient Chinoiserie, whilst the colouration in the original is very much in the style of a 19th Century French paper. This design retains the original’s oversized repeat and has been reproduced in six stunning colourways.

    Little Greene 2016 Archive Trails 18_LR Stitch - Highland

    Stitch (c1940) is inspired by embroidered chintz cottons. The use of stippling (dot-work) was popular in embroidery and printing, particularly at a time when block printing was seen as an indication of status. In the late 19th and well into the 20th Century, ornate patterns in the home were a conspicuous symbol of wealth and associated with prosperity. The use of two print colours makes this paper especially easy to coordinate with paint colours and other elements in the room.

    Archive Trails will be available from January 21st 2016.

  • In The Pink

    This October, our stockists and customers raised an incredible £11,353.42 for our chosen charity, The Haven.

    Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, our stockists painted objects in a limited edition Little Greene pink, ‘Tutu’ to raise awareness. With each sale, 15p from every tin of Little Greene paint and roll of wallpaper sold was donated to The Haven.

    We would like to thank all of our stockists for getting involved through social media, using #littlegreenepink. We saw some brilliant creations made using the ‘Tutu’ sample pots which you can see below.

    BCA Collage 1 Clockwise From Left, Belinda Benton, Camellia Interiors, Little Greene, Glenwood Interiors, Callaghan Interiors.
    BCA Collage 2 Clockwise From Left, Brewers Bow, Glenwood Interiors, City Dec Supplies, Centrepiece, Leekes Llantrisant.

    The money raised will benefit The Haven, who provide a wide range of therapies, information and advice to help patients and their families cope with the physical and emotional side effects of breast cancer and its treatment.

    For more information, visit:

  • Little Greene At Batimat 2015

    We presented the latest from Little Greene at Batimat earlier this month.

    The trade show, based in Paris, showcased innovative products and new techniques within the building industry. The 4 day show included a programme of talks and exhibitor workshops.



    The Little Greene stand displayed our latest compendium of wallpapers, 20th Century Papers and the new ‘Blue’ paint collection, alongside the anamorphic set used in our latest ‘Blue’ advertising campaign.


    Painted using seven new paint colours from the capsule collection, the advert also features the wallpaper design, ‘Camellia’ to show the versatility of combining paint and wallpaper.


    For more information, visit

  • 20th Century Papers

    Launched alongside Little Greene’s latest paint collection ‘Blue,’ ‘20th Century Papers’ is a compendium book of coordinating twentieth century wallpapers, specially selected from historic archives, including original documents at the recently named ‘Museum of the Year’ Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery and private collections; all of them researched, reworked and re-coloured by Little Greene.

    Comprising twelve authentic patterns from as early as the turn of the century to as late as 1976, this book includes timeless designs from several key periods, notably the post-war revival of the 1950s and the ensuing decades, renowned for their design flair and creative dynamism.

    The collection also features new colourways of existing Little Greene designs and one new wallpaper design from the Whitworth archives.

    The new paper in the collection, ‘Zingara’ originates from a John Line collection produced in 1960. Available in three colourways, the ‘Cerulean Sea’ colourway is completely faithful to the document found in the Whitworth wallpaper archive. The elegant freehand line quality of the original drawing serves additional charm to this relaxed scene of boats resting at anchor. For a contemporary twist, the paper can be used with ‘Jack Black’ trims.

    Zingara Cerluean Sea, Jack Black 119

    Existing wallpaper design ‘Camellia’ is a moody tree and petal damask effect floral on a silken background, this paper of oriental origin has been recoloured in three bold colourways, including a striking blue with ancient provenance, giving it a distinctly contemporary feel. Pared with ‘Smalt’ from the ‘Blue’ collection the combination is perfect for matching skirting boards and door frames.

    Camellia Smalt, Smalt 255

    From the hand-printed ‘Apsley Collection’ by John Line & Sons, this relaxed interpretation of an urban Hampstead scene is attributed to designer Els Calvetti. All the line detail is retained and even the original colourways of grey and blue have been accurately recreated for the 21st Century interior. Combined with ‘Celestial Blue’, the relaxed style of the print and soothing tones emanate a calming effect.

    Hampstead Penumbra, Celestial Blue 101

    To browse ‘20th Century Papers,’ visit

  • The Safe Haven

    This Breast Cancer Awareness month, national breast cancer charity The Haven, opened the doors to their fourth regional centre in Hampshire.


    Working closely with the NHS, the centre will offer personalised care for people affected by breast cancer, offering services including financial advice, counselling, complementary therapies and nutritional guidance.

    HavenOpen-13 HavenOpen-2

    Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness month, we supported The Haven by donating 15p from every tin of paint and roll of wallpaper sold throughout October. We also supplied paint for the new centre to help give the rooms a relaxing, calming ambience. The Havens interior design team selected a range of neutral shades including Clay Mid 153, Stock Mid 173 and Creamerie 42, the richest of cream colours.


    Pamela Healy OBE, The Haven’s chief executive, said:

    “Friday will mark an extremely positive milestone for our Wessex Haven and we can’t wait to open the doors to provide our tailored, one-to-one support for breast cancer patients in the area, as well as their family and friends.”


    For more information about The Haven, please visit

    Images supplied by The Haven.

  • Slaked Lime on Grand Designs

    Little Greene will be featured on an episode of Grand Designs this Wednesday.

    The programme follows Stephen Yeoman and Anita Findlay building a house on the River Ouse in the historic town of Lewes, East Sussex.

    The building is clad in weathered steel mesh and has been designed by innovative architect Sandy Rendel.

    Credit: Oliver Perrott ( Credit: Oliver Perrott (

    After deciding to make the move from London, the couple embarked on the build, designing the perfect house for their two young children Beatrix and Thea and their two Basset Hounds Gilbert and George.

    Taking 11 months to build, the plan was to create a cutting edge five bed house in a traditional location.

    The interior of the property features a combination of contemporary furniture and design classics alongside stand-out commissioned pieces including a dining table that has been carved from a single piece of 300 year old Elm.

    A neutral Little Greene paint shade was chosen for use throughout the house. Slaked Lime 105 was used on both the walls and woodwork to create warmth and simplicity whilst complementing the couple’s carefully selected furnishings. The shade is a pure neutral white made with a combination of minerals that create a soft appearance.

    Credit: Oliver Perrott ( Credit: Oliver Perrott (
    Credit: Oliver Perrott ( Credit: Oliver Perrott (
    Credit: Oliver Perrott ( Credit: Oliver Perrott (

    Stephen Yeoman said: ‘I’ve had quite a few very positive comments about the colour and our decorators were very complimentary on the coverage and colour of Little Greene paint.’

    You can watch the programme on the 21st of October at 9pm on Channel 4.

    To browse the Little Greene paint shades, visit

  • Blitzed with Colour

    As the official paint sponsor of the IWM North, Little Greene has teamed up with the museum once again for their Blitzed Brits, Horrible Histories exhibition.

    Creating an engaging environment for children to learn about wartime Britain, the free exhibition invites youngsters to explore the interactive space to reveal personal accounts of people who lived through the Blitz.

    Using bright, bold colours to capture interest, the IWM North chose a variety of shades to decorate the exhibition including our brightest yellow, Mister David, Theatre Red, Jack Black and Hicks Blue.


    We spoke to the exhibition designers about their colour choices and why Little Greene is their paint of choice:

    What was the aim for the exhibition design?

    To create an engaging environment for a wide audience to learn about what the Blitz was like. We wanted to create an immersive experience where children in particular could learn through interacting with the displays and to create opportunities for parents and grandparents too.


    How do you create a space that engages children?

    Creating strong visuals and small amounts of text. Taking children on a journey of discovery – revealing something new around each corner creates excitement and anticipation. Lots of interactives as many children learn best by either doing, making or touching something. We also produced a Survival Guide aimed at children with eight Survival Stations located throughout the exhibition which created a series of challenges and rewards and at the same time enabled informal learning to take place.


    What attracts you to Little Greene paint?

    The fabulous range of colours and the high quality of the paint made Little Greene paint great to work with. The use of colour was really important in the exhibition and being able to match the paint to graphic colours meant we could achieve consistency across the exhibition. We also really liked that each paint colour has its own story and reflect a range of time periods, right up to present day.


    What has the reaction been to the exhibition’s design?

    We are thrilled with the response which the exhibition has had. Seeing children, parents and grandparents engaging together is so rewarding. As one child said: ‘I love it because it makes it so fun and I get to learn more.’ What more could a designer wish for?


    The Horrible Histories Blitzed Brits exhibition runs until 10th April 2016.

  • The 'Blue' Launch

    Decorex 2015 saw the launch of 'Blue,'  Little Greene's latest paint collection.

    Blue Collection The 'Blue' Collection

    For interior designers, blue is the most versatile of all colour groups and for historians, it offers the richest of stories. Our ‘Blue’ capsule collection brings together some known Little Greene shades with a spectrum of archive blues from confident indigos to calm linen hues.

    Click here to watch the video.



  • Think Pink with Little Greene

    This Breast Cancer awareness month, 15p from every tin of Little Greene paint and roll of wallpaper sold will be donated to breast cancer charity, The Haven.

    E. Pink Slip Moments of Colour - Pink Slip

    If you place your order through the Little Greene website and select express delivery, we’ll donate your delivery charge too!

    The Haven provide personal care and offer a wide range of therapies, information, advice, workshops and classes all designed to help patients and their families cope with the physical and emotional side-effects of breast cancer and its treatment.

    Help us to raise as much money as possible whilst simultaneously giving your home an Autumn refresh.

  • The Beauty Of Ultra Blue

    Capturing the warmth and historic importance of Blue, the new Little Greene capsule colour collection comprises of 21 paint shades from the vast blue spectrum.

    The gem of the collection, Ultra Blue is a hand-mixed, limited edition colour that is layered, using two coats upon application to create the most sumptuous, deep Ultramarine shade.

    Ultra Blue 264 - Portrait Ultra Blue 264

    Produced using a single pigment that isn't stocked on our regular paint tinting machines, the formulation of the paint is as unique as the colour it produces.

    Its delicate, decorative finish requires the same pigment that was extracted and crushed by the Venetians in the 14th century from Lapis Lazuli. The pigment was ground from the semi-precious stone for its intense colour and was used for the exclusive depiction of the robes of angels and the Virgin Mary. The colour was used solely for this purpose until around 1520 and was the most expensive blue pigment used during the Renaissance.

    A shade that is continually celebrated by artists and designers, French post-war artist Yves Klein mixed his own deep blue hue using Ultramarine and named it International Klein Blue.

    It is now more commonly associated with the glimmering whitewash buildings and striking domed roofs of churches in Santorini.

    Spatially, the strength of this cherished colour can be utilised to create great contrast and depth within a room. Its versatility makes it suitable for use on exteriors as seen on the low walls of ‘The Marjorelle Garden’ in Marrakesh, creating a calm haven of foliage and vibrant colour which was later bought by Yves Saint Laurent in 1980.

    To create the rare intensity of Ultra Blue, the opacity of a base coat is required before the application of two layers of top coat to build up the richness of the colour.

    The use of two hand-mixed coats of the paint greatly impacts the perception of colour and creates the treasured, multi-faceted colour adored by artists throughout time.

    Ultra Blue is available to order now online and through stockists nationwide, for more information visit:

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