If Those Walls Could Talk

As I walk through The Fashion and Textile Museum in London, I can’t help but remember my auntie’s house. The walls on her dining room were decorated with a bold pattern, with massive flowers and dark colours, gaudily topped with a wide range of frames with family pictures that used to give me headaches. I’m sure she’d never have thought, nor did I, that years later I would be admiring that same wall –minus the relatives – as a part of the legacy of the most successful brand of interior decoration in England.

“Very Sanderson, 150 years of English decoration” is more than what it says on the tin.

It is a journey throughout ingenious tactics on innovation, customer care and artistic designs that makes this brand a true English asset. The exhibition runs from the 19th of March till the 13th of June and takes the visitor through the 15 decades in which Sanderson Ltd. grew from wallpaper dealer to fashion inspiration.

The exposition welcomes you with the first wallpapers made in England, backdated to 1870, created by the use of block-print, taking you down to the introduction of colour brochures, the first Disney wallpapers (featuring the first sketches of Snow White with all her seven dwarfs), the invention of the hinged display screens, and the creation of the first –and largest- showroom of its kind in London.

Also on display is the iconic Chintz, a mass produced design with high quality, but at the same time affordable that came to decorate houses all around the world.

Historian Mary Schoeser and co curator of the exhibition, showed us around with true passion for Sanderson’s work: “from the beginning they took risks. With block printing, they went for simple patterns, against the Victorian “over the top” style of the time. Sanderson believed the consumer deserved something artistically designed and affordable”.

This is the history of an entrepreneur that certainly loved designers and artists, counting among its vast archive contributions: C. F. A. Voysey, William Turner, Pat Albeck, Lucienne Day and even Pablo Picasso. For this special occasion, creations by Nina Saunders and independent footwear designer Tracey Neuls blend the colourful inheritance of Sanderson’s fabrics with art and fashion, a well deserved homage to a legendary brand that has set trends from our own living rooms. Add a personal touch to your living rooms by shopping for the best muraledesign from here.

“Very Sanderson, 150 Years of English Decoration” 19th March – 13th June. Wednesday to Sunday 11 am to 6 pm. Last admission 5.15 pm.

Tickets £6.5 adults / £3.50 students and concessions. Under 12s free entry.



Photography CHUN P. LIN