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Object Type
Wallpaper sample book
Creation Place & Date
England, 1893
Maker & Role
Essex & Co. (estab. 1887), Manufacturer
C.F.A. Voysey (b.1857, d.1941), Designer
Maker's Mark
Printed on spine: "ESSEX & CO. \ WALLPAPER \ SAMPLE BOOK"
Production Technique
Woodblock printed/Printed
Measurement
L: 30 x W: 25 x D: 5cm
Description
This volume comprises approximately 190 wallpaper samples, of which there are 31 different designs each in several colourways, with a pattern name, pattern number, and price printed on the reverse of the sample. The book is in fragile condition with the front cover missing. The first two pages list stock by pattern numbers, and there is a halftone view of each pattern depicted hung on a wall. Each of the samples are wood-block printed often simply using one or two colours. This was the larger of two sample books released by Essex & Co in 1893. Three designs, 'Buttercup and Daisy', 'Aylsham', and 'Tokyo' can be attributed to C.F.A. Voysey, though a number of others are in his style. Although sophisticated designs such as these were installed in Australian homes in this period, it is unknown to what extent the designs in this sample book were used in Australia.

Acquired in the United States of America.
Maker Biography
R. Walter Essex worked in the decorating and wallpaper industry in the 1870s and 1880s for English companies such as Chas Knowles & Co., Heywood Higginbottom Smith & Co., and Scott Cuthbertson & Co., before founding his own firm, Essex & Co, in 1887 at Battersea. Initially Essex & Co acted as wallpaper merchants, but in 1891 a mill was erected and manufacture of their own designs commenced. Manufacturing techniques included machine printing, hand printing and stencilling. In the 1890s, Essex & Co became renown for its use of famous designers such as CFA Voysey, George Haite, and Lindsay Butterfield. In 1899, Essex & Co became one of 31 wallpaper companies to merge into the Wall Paper Manufacturers Ltd (WPM) joint stock conglomerate. Together this conglomerate controlled up to 98% of the British wallpaper market. Wallpapers produced by most companies within WPM were given the generic brand name of "Crown Wallpapers", though some companies like Arthur Sanderson & Sons maintained a degree of autonomy. By 1914, the Battersea plant closed with personnel and rollers transferred to other WPM firms, and in 1923 Arthur Sanderson & Sons acquired Essex & Co's London showrooms and distribution business.
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