And now for something completely different: Chinese Wallpaper Study Day

Exquisitely refined: a detail of the Chinese Wallpaper at Oud Amelisweerd in The Netherlands.

Exquisitely refined: a detail of the Chinese Wallpaper at Oud Amelisweerd in The Netherlands.

Kirby Hall has me looking into Elizabethan and Jacobean styles and trends in the development of interiors, so this is slightly of topic. The study of Chinoiseries in all its forms has been a specific area of interest for me since my introduction to the subject by Prof. Christiaan Jorg at Leiden University. Through my research on the subject I’ve been involved with an international network of people from a wide variety of disciplines that share an interest in Chinese export wallpaper. Yesterday we had a study day at the elegant offices of the National Trust in London. My own paper was a short overview of the ten examples of Chinese Wallpaper that still exist in the Netherlands, and the wider context of the fashion for Chinoiserie inspired interiors in that region.

Castle Heewijk: The Dining room with its beautiful Chinese Wallpaper on a green ground.

Castle Heewijk: The Dining room with its beautiful Chinese Wallpaper on a green ground.

Chinese wallpaper was commissioned in Canton to decorate interiors in European houses from the eighteenth century onwards. These hand painted panoramic scenes were a high status luxury product that tied in with the established fashion for collecting oriental art and Chinoiseries. Some beautiful examples can still be seen in country house, palaces and museums around the world. My own paper was a short overview of the ten examples of Chinese Wallpaper that still exist in the Netherlands, and the wider context of the fashion for Chinoiserie inspired interiors in that region.

Multidisciplinary communication in action

Multidisciplinary communication in action

The aim of the study day was to gather information on the subject from a wide variety of perspectives to illustrate what the status quo of the research is as well as highlight possible new avenues to bring this to the next level. The National Trust will be publishing a book on the various Chinese wallpapers that are represented in their collection. As a follow up a larger conference is planned on the subject which will hopefully lead to the publication of a book on the subject.

Elegant surroundings: the National Trust offices in London

Elegant surroundings: the National Trust offices in London

The free exchange of ideas between researchers and across traditional boundaries was inspiring during this study day. It also illustrated the added value of working with this way as we all went home with a better and deeper understanding of the subject matter.