My father Claud’s love of 18th Century Chinoiserie wallpapers was the motivation for his founding de Gournay almost 40 years ago. It’s a passion I inherited, and working with a product that acts as a window to the past inspires me everyday.
When Rose Cholmondeley contacted me in 2018 regarding the historic wallpaper installed within Houghton Hall, I was of course eager to see it for myself... especially when she explained that in the course of restorations to the 400 year old property, considered one of the UK’s most beautiful houses, she had discovered unused panels of the same set.
Records state Houghton’s original Chinoiserie wallpaper was installed around 1789 supposedly ahead of a visit for the then Prince of Wales.
The wallpaper is an unrivalled example of the ‘Chinese style’ that captivated 18th century Europe. These panels had been stored in the attic for almost 250 years with almost no exposure to light or air. In the face of such unlikely and impeccable source material Rose and I decided that de Gournay would reproduce three colourways of the Chinoiserie wallpaper.
One to match the beautiful antiqued patina and almost monochromatic palette of the Cabinet Room panels and one to match the rich saturated tones of the panels from the attic - with pinks, greens, reds and golden accents all of which have disappeared in the Cabinet Room panels. The third colourway would be created by Rose for an installation in her own bathroom one floor up from its historic blue counterpart.
‘The Grand Finale’
de Gournay’s hand painted ‘Houghton’ Chinoiserie wallpaper in the Rose colourway - in the bathroom one floor up and 300 years on from the original wallpaper.
The resulting ‘Houghton’ is a spellbinding reminder of what de Gournay does best - faithfully and knowledgeabley recreating designs that evoke the true splendour of the past.
And what better way to celebrate it’s launch than with an esteemed group of guests at the house itself? We lit Houghton's State Rooms with 700 candles so that guests could wander the interior -and dine in the Picture Gallery - experiencing it as it would have been in the 18th century.