… the exacting standards of aristocratic wallpapers
What do wallpapers and the aristocracy have in common? Both represent a love of the classical and the championing of time-honoured traditions. But the two often also share an appreciation for the beauty of nature and a lively desire to keep in step with the times. Yet any lingering doubt that the aristocracy and wallpapers can co-exist peacefully is dispelled with a grandiose discovery from 1926 revealed during a search of the Rasch archives.
In the mid-1920s, the wallpaper industry experienced a time of upheaval and change. There was a move away from copies and imitations, and a desire to create something new with which to decorate walls. For the first time ever, the wallpaper manufacturer Rasch purchased the designs of famous artists. This represented a sea change at the Rasch studio in Bramsche, Germany, as the company discovered contemporary, fashionably expressive ideas and décors which were revolutionary at the time.
Thus it was that the then-CEO, Dr Emil Rasch, met a highly talented young lady from an aristocratic family. The idea for the so-called artists’ collections was born. “Princess Eitel Friedrich of Prussia” was the name of one of the first projects and, under the special rubric of “Modern wall art”, Rasch used designs from this very duchess – Sophie Charlotte of Oldenburg – which were tastefully transformed into artistic wallpapers.
This young lady was known for the great quality of her drawings, and was exceptionally skilled at watercolour painting. Using wholly natural forms, she painted stylised flowers across the surface of the wallpaper material. The vibrant watercolour reflects a strong Japanese influence, where a handful of colours are used to powerful effect. This is why the adverts of the period stated: “Interesting, innovative drawings and charming watercolours, unmatched in their fine balance of colour. Something truly special for retailers with discerning customers.”
In 2015, the collection so popular in 1926 is undergoing a revival. Using modern colours, the Bramsche studio is breathing new life into the antique but by no means antiquated patterns. Want to know what makes this collection truly special? Rasch is taking another pioneering step and producing these wallpapers as CO²-neutral products. In the process, the wallpaper manufacturer is supporting a reforestation project in Panama, and is committed not only to making our homes more beautiful, but also to preserving our forests.
And now you can see why the traditional aristocracy and wallpaper have so much in common. This historic find from the archives could hardly have been better implemented to suit modern tastes, and uses fine brushwork and cutting-edge production techniques to show what great responsibility we all bear towards nature, so that she continues throughout our lifetime to serve as the patron of infinitely beautiful interior design.