Chinese papers and English imitations in 18th Century Britain

Taylor, Clare (2009). Chinese papers and English imitations in 18th Century Britain. In: Stavenow-Hidemark, Elisabet ed. New Discoveries New Research: Papers from the International wallpaper conference held at the Nordiska Museet, Stockholm, 2007. Stockholm: Nordiska Museets Forlag, pp. 36–53.



The chapter challenges the approach of previous studies of Chinese papers which focused on their categorisation as pure and authentic examples, against which English papers in the Chinese taste were seen as inferior and imitative. By analysing the myths surrounding these goods, I argue that both types of paper responded to consumer taste and that demand for Chinese papers was closely bound up with skills developed by the English trade. Extant schemes, and the reconstruction of others from surviving papers and archival material, are used to investigate the significance of spaces decorated with Chinese paper to eighteenth- century consumeers.

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