A Long Story
The story of humankind and wall decoration reaches far and wide. It is said to have begun in the depths of the caves, when the first drawings of animals and plants were etched into their walls.
It was probably in China that wallpaper was invented, just like paper money, and many other essentiuals! And of course, it was Marco Polo of course who first evoked it in his extraordinary stories at the court of Kubilai Khan. There he evoked his wonder at the splendour and luxury of Chinese interiors, covered with "paper printed with coloured figures", his amazement at the finesse of porcelain, carved ivory and lacquered furniture made the wealth of the cabinets of curiosities in Europe only a few centuries later.
Arrival in Europe
Wallpaper first gained its popularity among the English in the 16th century following the excommunication of Henry VIII, and even more so after the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The aristocrats and bourgeoisie finally recommenced, with renewed pleasure and joy, to buy luxurious and comfortable items of domestic decoration, which had long been banned under the Puritan
government. It is true that taste and exquisiteness did not always go hand in hand during the reigns of religious fanatics and bellicose dictators!
Anne the Wise!
A nasty tax introduced during the reign of Queen Anne, the disastrous Seven Years War and the wars of Napoleon I, brought the commercial boom and the ever-growing influence of English wallpaper throughout Europe to a halt. It was thus quite natural in France that the art and culture of wallpaper blossomed from the middle of the 18th century under the reign of Louis XV, then that of Marie Antoine, admirable in the field of fashion and decoration, until their undeniable and uncontested apotheosis under the two Napoleonic empires!
In the 18th Century
Names such as Réveillon, Dufour frères, Zuber & Compagnie, Jacquemart, to name but a few, elevated the art and technique of wallpaper printing to the highest level. Their motifs draw, in adherence to the trends of the times, from French landscape, Rococo, Baroque or Neo-Classicism styles. Dare we say, they were at the core of the most subtle and luxurious wallpapers ever made in history.
With its inaugural collection, Papier Français has rediscovered, restored and revived the splendour and finesse of these iconic wallpapers. Those of the 18th and 19th centuries belong to particularly glorious French periods during which they acquired their timeless noble status.
And moreover, their noble status in the world as we know it today.