Explore The Archives

Every roll of wallpaper we create has been drawn from an historic pattern we have found. Some were originally hand-printed pieces, discovered as fragments behind layers of wallpapers in prestigious period homes. Other documents have been carefully preserved in archives at English Heritage or the Whitworth Art Gallery in Little Greene’s home in Manchester.

Founded in 1889 as the first English gallery in a park, the Whitworth has recently been transformed by a £15million development. Having been awarded the Art Fund’s ‘Museum of the Year 2015,’ the gallery has an extensive wallpaper archive featuring wallpapers dating back to the 17th century.

From January 29th to September 4th 2016, The Whitworth’s Wallpaper exhibition features highlights from their collection of 50’s and 60’s wallpapers including designs by Roger Nicholson and John Line.

The exhibition features the original documents of three Little Greene designs.

Most recently acquired by Little Greene for the ‘20th Century Papers’ collection, ‘Zingara’ is a design from a John Line collection produced in 1960. The colourway Cerulean Sea is completely faithful to the document found in the wallpaper archive at Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery. The elegant freehand line quality of the original drawing serves additional charm to this relaxed scene of boats resting at anchor.

20160129_160012 Original Zingara Design - Whitworth Art Gallery



Zingara Cerluean Sea, Jack Black 119 Zingara - Cerulean Sea, Jack Black 119

‘Florette’ is a striking, light-hearted design that embodies the 1950s, this paper was found in “The Architects Book of 100 Wallpapers” published in 1954. The original paper shows a selection of line-drawn dandelions, almost lost against an informal freehand trellis. The contemporary interpretation is a little easier on the eye, featuring the six subtly varied flower heads on a solid ground of colour.

20160129_155712 Original Florette Design - Whitworth Art Gallery


01 Florette Acid Drop Florette - Acid Drop

‘Hampstead’ was inspired by the hand-printed ‘Apsley Collection’ by John Line & Sons, this relaxed interpretation of an urban Hampstead scene is attributed to designer Els Calvetti. All the line detail is retained and even the original colourways of grey and blue were accurately recreated by Little Greene for the 21st Century interior.

20160129_155745 Original Hampstead Design - Whitworth Art Gallery
Hampstead Penumbra, Celestial Blue 101 Hampstead - Penumbra, Celestial Blue 101

The ‘Wallpaper’ Exhibition will continue until September the 4th 2016 and is free to visit.

Visit www.littlegreene.com for more information and to browse our range of historic paint colours and wallpapers.