20th Century Wallpapers

By the 20th Century, huge advances in mechanisation and the rise in the demand for wallpapers went hand-in-hand. Towards the end of the pervious century, the focus of English production had moved away from London and closer to the supply of raw materials (cotton mills) in the north. Many of the designs featured here, in particular from the latter half of the 20th Century, have been unearthed from the extensive archive in Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery.

By mid-century, wallpaper patterns had become much less restricted by printing methods and much more influenced by the artistic expressions of the time. This is particularly evidenced by the loose, relaxed style of the 1950s and the much more geometric patterns of the 1970s.

This period of huge social change also witnessed some prolific shifts in the use of colour in the home and is borne out by the combinations of shades seen in the surviving documents from which all these designs have been drawn.