First wallpapers

Wallpaper was first used in China in 200 BC. As the Chinese passed this knowledge on to other cultures, the uses and methods of making paper improved with each generation and as other cultures added their own touches.¹

First modern wallpapers

In 1675, Jean-Michel Papillon began making block designs in identical, repetitive patterns on rolls of paper - and wallpaper as we know it today was born.¹

World’s most expensive wallpaper

The most expensive wallpaper ever created was a panorama entitled "Les Guerres d'Independence" (The Wars of Independence) by Zuber, a French wallpaper company. Zuber has been creating exquisite and unique wallpaper since 1797. The Les Guerres d'Independence has 32 panels covering 49.5 feet and is valued at $40,500.⁴                     
The most expensive until now that is. Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, has asked artist Mark Evans to create what will be the world’s most expensive wallpaper. The total project is estimated to cost around $2.84 million to wallpaper two rooms in the billionaire’s house in Moscow.

Golden oldie

The oldest known pieces of European wallpaper still in existence date from 1509 and were found on the beams of the Lodge of Christ's College in Cambridge, England.¹

The right length

In 1778, Louis XVI issued a decree that required the length of a wallpaper roll be about 34 feet.¹

Golden Age of Wallpaper

During the 1920s nearly 400 million rolls of wallpaper were sold, resulting in the decade being dubbed the Golden Age of Wallpaper.¹

Did you know…

Starch is used as a binder in the production of paper. It is the use of a starch coating that controls ink penetration when printing. Cheaper papers do not use as much starch, and this is why your hands get black when reading your morning paper!³

Wallpaper ban

During the Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell, the manufacture of wallpaper, seen as a frivolous item by the Puritan government, was halted. Following the Restoration of Charles II, wealthy people across England began demanding wallpaper again - Cromwell's regime had imposed a boring culture on people, and following his death, wealthy people began purchasing domestic items that had been banned under the Puritan state.²

Tax on wallpaper!
 In 1712, during the reign of Queen Anne, a wallpaper tax was introduced and was not abolished until 1836. By the mid-eighteenth century, Britain was the leading wallpaper manufacturer in Europe, exporting vast quantities to Europe in addition to selling it on the middle-class British market. However, this trade was seriously disrupted in 1755 by the Seven Years War, and later the Napoleonic Wars, and by a heavy level of duty on imports to France.²

Tea break

We all like a cup of tea in between wallpapering tasks. How about a cup of tea made from a tea bag estimated to be worth $13,941? Boodles jewellers have created a tea bag for PG Tips’ 75th birthday. It took 3 months to create and used 280 diamonds, which were all handcrafted.⁵

¹ 10 interesting facts about wallpaper by Janet M Slagell (