Hoxne Heritage Group Presents a Talk on Wallpaper.

Wallpaper ! Not exactly a subject to fire the imagination, or so you would have thought. However the talk we were presented with in the village hall on Monday 8th January given by Philip Aitkins did indeed fire the imagination. We were not talking about any old wallpaper here either, but rather historical wallpaper up to about 1850 when it was largely handmade, and certainly not massed produced. Evidently before the onset of massed produced wallpaper this type of interior decoration was not cheap.

 

To illustrate his talk Philip brought a large portfolio of historical wallpaper remnants many over two hundred and fifty years old. Some had been removed from old buildings now no longer here. Not surprisingly each of these remnants had a story to tell, either the social standing of the owner who commissioned the wallpaper to be made or indeed the history of the house that the wallpaper was removed from.

 

Using a selection of slides Philip also plotted the stylistic development of wallpaper taking into account many of the influences prevalent, notably the Chinese, and the blue and white style reminiscent of Delft pottery, popular throughout the late 17th century and 18th century. Using the patterns derived from these styles Philip assured

us that wallpaper could be dated quite accurately.

 

Some of us went to this talk clutching remnants of our own wallpaper scraps hoping they would be dated. Unfortunately most of us were disappointed when told that our wallpapers were cheap massed produced examples dating from the end of the 19th century. However Philip was quite excited by a ‘wallpaper ‘presented at the talk for investigation, He dated this as between late 17th century and early 18th century. He also said it was not wallpaper not having been made from paper. Instead it was thought to have been possibly made of linen, once the product of a local manufacturing industry in the Waveney Valley. This wall hanging came from a house still standing in Hoxne so there is a local connection. So much interest was raised by this wall hanging that with the permission of its owner Hoxne Heritage Group is to seek further expert advice. Interestingly the owner of the wall hanging was told many years ago that it originated from Java and is made from crushed wood bark and that it was stuck on the ceiling between the joists.

 

So, watch this space as we try to discover its origins.

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