Colonial Williamsburg Wallpaper Line Combines History, Modern Flair

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The John Rocque’s London Map wallpaper mural matches the original map's size and comes in linen or metallic bronze. (Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
The John Rocque’s London Map wallpaper mural matches the original map’s size and comes in linen or metallic bronze. (Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

Colonial Williamsburg’s new wallpaper collection is all about when “Trend Meets Tradition.”

WILLIAMSBURG, the licensing division of Colonial Williamsburg, recently partnered up with Pennsylvania-based wallpaper manufacturer York Wallcoverings to create the “Trend Meets Tradition” line, which includes 70 modern takes on classic colonial elements.

“Wallpaper as an interior design trend has roots in the 18th century, and Colonial Williamsburg curators were at the forefront of discovering and documenting evidence of its use in colonial America,” said Melissa Fraley Agguini, director of products merchandising and sales for Colonial Williamsburg.

The extensive ongoing research into the colors, textures and patterns that would have been popular in colonial America makes Colonial Williamsburg a natural choice for developing a modern line of wallpapers that capture the timeless appeal of colonial style.

Ron Redding, vice president of design for York Wallcoverings, began his work on the collection by scouring the Colonial Williamsburg archives for inspiration. Many classic WILLIAMSBURG fabrics have been reimagined for the line, including the popular Solomon’s Seal print, which was inspired by authentic printed curtains from 1775.

Though the print is a classic, the colors are decidedly refreshing. Redding decided to recolor the classic blue floral pattern in modern teal, pink and butternut. The collection as a whole strikes a balance between neutrals and bolder colors, making it suitable for a wider variety of aesthetics.

While some prints will already be familiar to WILLIAMSBURG fabric enthusiasts, others are new and have been drawn directly from objects in Colonial Williamsburg’s museums.

The most obvious sources of inspiration are authentic colonial textiles, but Redding got creative in drawing on more obscure design elements for some of the wallpapers in the collection. One of the papers, Galt Embroidery, is based on design of the baroque ironwork gates of the Governor’s Palace.

A recent news release from Colonial Williamsburg describes the London Map print as the “standout” piece of the collection, perfectly encapsulating the “fusion of past and present” that the collection embodies. The paper is a mural of the original bird’s-eye view map of 1740’s-era London drawn by cartographer John Rocques, a valuable piece in Colonial Williamsburg’s collection.

“As a lifelong student of historic design, I consider my collaboration with Colonial Williamsburg to be one of the highlights of my career as a stylist at York Wallcoverings,” Redding said.

To browse and shop the entire collection, click here. For more information about the WILLIAMSBURG brand, click here.