“Painted paper of Pekin”: the taste for eighteenth-century Chinese papers in Britain, c.1918-c.1945

Taylor, Clare (2014). “Painted paper of Pekin”: the taste for eighteenth-century Chinese papers in Britain, c.1918-c.1945. In: Huang, Michelle Ying-ling ed. The Reception of Chinese Art across Cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 44–64.

URL: http://www.cambridgescholars.com/the-reception-of-...

Abstract

The chapter documents an aspect of early twentieth century interior design that has been neglected by serious academic study, which has often focused on chinoiserie as an aspect of modernism. Rather, it explores the link between European attitudes to Chinese papers in the eighteenth century and that developed in the 1920s and 1930s, arguing for the important role individuals, commercial firms and museums played in both supplying and fuelling demand. These include a number of little known , but, I argue, significant figures in the revival of interest in papers, including the interior decorators Roland Fleming and Walter Thornton Smith. Schemes, including a room installed at the V&A and work for her own home by Nancy Lancaster, are examined to illuminate both the reasons for eighteenth-century Chinese papers' appeal and the ways in which their associations with luxury, effeminacy and the exotic were interpreted during this period.

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