the idea of covering the internal wall of one's abode with what is rather tautologically referred to as wallpaper, first found popularity with the bourgeoisie in renaissance europe. the elite continued with the practice of hanging tapestries, much as they had been doing since the middle ages. not only did the latter add a much lauded layer of decoration to what were mostly stone-walled buildings, but in the absence of central heating, provided a desired layer of insulation to often large, cold rooms.
the gentry, keen to differentiate themselves from the proletariat, were a tad short of cash to purchase large collections of tapestries, and thus settled for this new-fangled wallpaper. in those early times, sheets of wallpaper often featured similar scenes to those woven into tapestries, and prior to the habit of pasting them to the walls, frequently hung loose. famed draughtsmen such as albrecht durer worked on both large printed images as well as ornamental work, setting something of an early trend, if slightly more intricate, for modern wallpapers.
by the late 18th century, machines had been invented to utilise hand-carved blocks to repetitively apply coloured tints on long sheets of paper, subsequently replaced by a patented machine that could apply patterns to continuous lengths of wallpaper.
in contemporary times, wallpaper seems as subject to the fashion whims of the day, and not just with regards the designs. several of us will have cringing recollections of the crazed patterns from the sixties that our parents had meticulously applied to the hall, lounge and sitting room by the local decorator. oft times, the more tactile members of the breed, hiding under the all-encompassing epithet of anaglypta, allowed the diy enthusiast the luxury of repainting as whim or necessity dictated, either in the same colour or something more in keeping with the times.
the mighty dave t who, in a previous life was a painter/decorator of no little repute, would generally recommend paint rather than paper, on the basis of the previously mentioned ever-changing fashion. however, there is little doubt that there are both times and places when nothing but wallpaper will truly suffice, preferably featuring a design that reflects your personal preferences, yet thoroughly equitable to other members of the family. the sort of thing i had in mind is probably least well illustrated by wallpapers in kids' bedrooms; who amongst us wouldn't cycle as far away as possible were we to be surrounded by peppa pig or fireman sam?
grown-ups (allegedly) are less swayed by being surrounded with graphic reminders of their favourite television programmes, though this doesn't exclude us from favouring decor to match our sporting or activity obsessions. i should, at this point, issue a warning that him or her indoors may not express the desired degree of tolerance towards individual choice that you might hope would be the case. in other words, you're on your own with this.
as a subset of queensway print ltd, drops offers the luxury of large format panoramic wallcoverings depicting the classic road races, iconic climbs and the grand tours, using imagery drawn from the portfolios of geoff waugh and jered & ashley gruber. this it has done for a year or so. but more recently they have been joined by the inestimable graphic talents of richard mitchelson, he of eddy and cav vinyl figures fame as well as his unique illustrations featured in early copies of rouleur magazine.
never able to restrain himself from sketching productively, rich has hand-drawn and coloured a selection of velocipedinal artifacts including the iconic campag delta brakes, chain links, casquettes, helmets, saddles, pumps and bottles, arranged into a repeating pattern and now available on sizeable lengths of wallpaper (10m x 0.5m) selling for £85 each.
cyclists are renowned (at least that's what i'm telling you) for their sociability and desire to selflessly participate in activities related to the art of pedalling a bicycle. they're also just as keen on attending cycle shows in the vain attempt to differentiate one carbon frame from another. in order that you might alleviate the stresses and strains of so doing today and all weekend at the london cycle show, rich will be there with a black and white oultined version of his wallpaper so that attendees can help him colour it in. there's every likelihood the real thing will also be on display in case your colour sense has temporarily deserted for the day.
should you be as impressed by his graphic prowess as am i, you can pre-order all the wallpaper you'll need to decorate the study, sitting room and bike shed with delivery between five and six weeks later. that ought to offer enough time to subtly introduce the idea to your better half.
just tell them what a really nice bloke rich mitch truly is. that ought to swing it.
friday 13 february 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................