Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
Our Brocaded Paper series celebrates a curated set of antique paper samples collected and housed in Germany. This design, Bavarian Wild Flower, showcases the colourful floral motif archetypal of the decorative arts in that region during the late 17th century.
With our Bavarian Wild Flower design we spotlight the underappreciated art of creating decorative paper. For centuries, leather and textiles had been the go-to materials in all areas of life. This changed toward the end of the 17th century as pioneering Bavarian papermakers brought spectacular new finishing methods to the decorative arts. This design represents a particularly dazzling example of the art form, showcasing a range of techniques that were employed by master papermakers
Our Bavarian Wild Flower design is a reproduction of a material known as “Dutch gilt paper.” One distinct feature of this type of paper is the splotches of colour which serves as a backdrop to the refined patterns created using embossing and gilding techniques. Although most of this type of decorative paper was actually manufactured in the German cities of Bavaria, it was the Dutch merchants who ruled the currents of European trade. This trade system included paper distribution, which is why German-made paper came to be known as Dutch.
Before the onset of the industrial age, techniques such as gilding, embossing, relief printing and brocading (weaving raised patterns on fabrics) were the primary means of embellishing decorative materials. Although these methods are still employed today, modern interior design makes much more limited use of heavy draperies, rich leather wall coverings and gilded surfaces than did pre-industrial designers. The lavishness of this Bavarian Wild Flower cover is a reminder of the times much before “muted luxury” became the popular look.
As the beautiful object that it was, decorative paper was sought out as a collector’s item by those who could afford this hobby. Owing in part to the popularity of this kind of pastime, sheets of unused paper survived to present day and their visual splendour inspired us to create this Bavarian Wild Flower cover.