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DateLecture
14 January 2020A Decorative Art: The History of Wallpaper
11 February 2020The Empty Chair in Art: From Van Gogh to Ai Weiwei
10 March 2020A Concise History of our Great British Public Parks
14 April 2020Islamic Art: Exploring the Decorative Arts of the Islamic World
12 May 2020An Easy Day for a Lady: The Dress of Early Women Mountaineers 1850-1914
09 June 2020'Debo' - Mitford, Cavendish, Devonshire, Duchess and Housewife 1920-2014
14 July 2020Signs, Signals and Iconography: The Hidden Stories in Art

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A Decorative Art: The History of Wallpaper Jo Banham Tuesday 14 January 2020

,Wallpaper is often regarded as the Cinderella of the Decorative Arts – the most ephemeral and least precious of the decorations produced for the home. Yet, the history of wallpaper is a long and fascinating subject that dates back to the 16th century and encompasses a huge range of beautiful patterns created both by anonymous hands and by some of the best-known designers of the 19th and 20th centuries. This lecture explores the history and development of this product from earliest times up to the present day. It includes a discussion of the changing ways in which wallpaper was made and a survey of designs from the first black and white patterns, the creation of elegant flock hangings, the fashion for Chinese hand-painted papers, the introduction of machine-printing, the designs of Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the taste for Modernist and Contemporary designs in the 20th century. It also includes a discussion of the ways that wallpapers were used within grand and more ordinary homes, and hopes to justify the claim that they were indeed a truly Decorative Art.

Jo Banham

Jo is a freelance curator, lecturer and writer. From 2006-2016 she was Head of Adult Learning at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and before that Head of Learning and Access at the National Portrait Gallery, and Head of Public Programmes at Tate Britain. She has also been Curator of Leighton House and Assistant Keeper at the Whitworth Art Gallery.

Jo has published on many aspects of Victorian and early 20th century decoration and interiors. She is currently curating an exhibition on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement for the Juan March Fundacion in Madrid and the Museu Nacional d’Art Catalunya in Barcelona. She is also Director of the Victorian Society Summer School.