The Grammar of Ornament
Owen Jones is best known for his influential 1856 book The Grammar of Ornament, in which the 19th century British architect outlines the “general principles in the arrangement of form and colour in architecture and the decorative arts.” However, Jones—the namesake of a different Thoreaux design—was also an artist, and this wallpaper is based on one of his illustrations, depicting the floral pattern from a Chinese lacquerware pot.
In 1867, British architect and colour theorist Owen Jones published Examples of Chinese Ornament, a collection of 100 plates depicting patterns from various Chinese earthenware, vases and jugs. In the book, Jones praises Chinese fine arts for “the beauty and harmony of the colouring, and general perfection of the ornamentation.” This wallpaper is based on one of Jones’ plates, itself a reproduction of the pattern found on a painted bottle from China.
The Last Monarch
Paris in the 1850s was a wild place: Napoleon III ruled—as France’s first president, and then, following a coup, its last emperor; Baron Haussman was transforming the streets; and inside the homes of the wealthy, a lavish, Renaissance Revival aesthetic dominated. Some of those homes, no doubt, had the original wallpaper that served as the basis for The Last Monarch.
From 1827 to 1839, the French-born, American-bred ornithologist and painter John James Audubon published The Birds of America, a dazzling series of oversize copperplate etchings depicting 435 Canadian and American birds. This wallpaper is a reinterpretation of Audubon’s “Carolina Parakeets,” featuring America’s only native species of parrots, extinct since 1904.
✴ This is a custom pattern, so we will contact you for your wall dimensions after you place your order.
There are nine Blue Mosques in the world, but Cairo’s Aqsunqur Mosque, constructed in 1347, is the oldest. It may also be the most extraordinary, thanks to its interiors, which include carved marble, intricate tile mosaics and colourful stone inserts. In the 16th century, it housed a range of faiences (decorative glazed earthenware), the patterns of which inspired the design of this wallpaper.
For more than two millennia, since the silk trade first carved out transcontinental trade routes, Eastern and Western cultures have cross-pollinated. It would be difficult to find a more quintessential example of this intermingling than the 19th century porcelain bottle—which is from China but displays unmistakable Persian and Indian influences—that inspired this wallpaper.
Today, Firmin Didot may be best known for his namesake typeface, but in the 19th century, he ran his family’s business, which was then the world’s most influential print house. From a workshop near Paris, the Didots revolutionized book- and poster-making. One of their works from 1874, a bronze vessel-inspired lithograph created by the studio Dufour & Bauër, serves as the basis for this wallpaper design.
John the Beautiful
In 12th century Turkey, the strong military policies of Byzantine Emperor John II Komnenos, aka John the Beautiful, led to a long spell of stability and peace. This facilitated an economic and cultural flourishing—a period of Renaissance during which many beautiful works of art, including the mosaic on which this wallpaper is based, were created.