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From the archives ~ a new collection by William Kilburn

The CommonRoom stand at Decorex International 2019
Pots by Giulietta Hextall for the CommonRoom stand at Decorex 2019.
Our Regency window at Decorex 2019 based on Repton’s eighteenth-century landscape designs.


We are launching four new wallpapers by the long-neglected but once highly celebrated artist William Kilburn. Our booth will be a solo presentation of his designs Love Leaves and Old Oak. We will also exhibit selected artworks alongside the wallpaper, including pots by the talented Giulietta Hextall.

These archival designs from 1800 take their inspiration from nature’s unpredictable patterns.

William Kilburn was one of the UK’s leading craftsmen and a renowned textile artist of the 18th century. Since then his star has waned but we at CommonRoom want to honour his place in history.

Kilburn was widely known for his opulent floral designs, but the wallpapers Old Oak and Love Leaves were taken from an unusual set of watercolours discovered in a sketchbook by descendent Gabriel Sempill. Marking a departure from the chintz that Kilburn was recognised for, a full reproduction was published by Simon Lawrence’s Fleece Press in 2014. Mr Kilburn’s Calicos: William Kilburn’s Fabric Printing Patterns from the Year 1800 includes an exquisite facsimile of the sketchbook in its entirety and modern takes on Kilburn’s motifs, realised as repeats by textile designer Sholto Drumlanrig.

The V&A holds a vast body of the botanical prints that made Kilburn famous, but the watercolours in Mr Kilburn’s Calicos reveal a change in fashion, moving towards more sophisticated, simpler and at times abstract designs that have a distinctively contemporary feel.


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