Chinese silk wall-coverings are one of the earliest global luxury products. Originally, the exclusive domain of Ming Dynasty Chinese nobility, by the 18th Century, the papers had also been widely adopted by the English and French nobility as the high-water mark of interior design. In France, they were known at the Louis XIV Versailles court as “papiers peints panoramique.”
Chinoiserie wallpapers that depicted flowers, birds and butterflies subsequently became the rage of the day with the affluent 18th and 19th Century European Commercial class, and became a standard of elegant living during this period. With the gradual shift of wealth and power to the New World, silk wallpapering followed, and the look became closely associated with the rise of the railroad and manufacturing dynasties of the Vanderbilt, Huntington and Carnegies (many fine examples of silk wallpapering still exist in Newport and other Eastern US historic homes).
Recently, with the focus on the organic, hand-made, and unique, Western interior designers have rediscovered hand-painted wallpapers with a fresh passion. Vogue, Elle Decor, House Beautiful and Traditional Home magazines have featured silk wallpapers in a number of interior design features and the designs are now gracing a large number of 5 star restaurants, boutique hotels and private residences in the United Kingdom, France and United States.