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Colour Notes 3.0

This week marks the birth of one of our artists, beloved Bawden. Edward Bawden CBE RA (1903–1989) was one of the most significant artists of his time. His career spanned much of the twentieth century and comfortably straddled boundaries between the fine and applied arts. His work was inspired by nature, often with more than a dash of mischievous humour as is evident in his Wave wallpaper, created in 1929.

Whilst we're all dreaming of holidays spent by the coast, this edition of Colour Notes provides a palette reminiscent of seaside misty mornings. With the focus on Wave, we hope the design and the colours bring you peace and tranquillity and remind you of magical times spent outdoors, on a beach, near the water.


Cerullian Blue by Edward Bulmer is a dusty blue that works well with Bawden's waves. To the eye it is almost grey. Bulmer writes that it was known in house (and palace) painting in the 17th century and only requires blue, black and raw umber pigments. It is a rich colour when used on panelling and would have been expensive to achieve early on. Ede by Atelier Ellis, ever so slightly darker in tone, also complements the colours in Wave.

 Cerulean blue comes from the Latin caeruleus, dark blue, derived from caelum, for heaven and sky. Cerulean was adopted by impressionist artists to capture the intensity of the light of day; Claude Monet's 1877 Le Grand Canal and Berthe Morisot's 1979 Summer's Day are beautiful examples of this. The colour's popularity persists today, with Pantone nominating Cerulean the colour of the millennium.

Both these blues are so interesting because of their proximity to grey. The mix of blue and black serves to remind us of the connection to the weather: stormy skies could well be just around the corner…


White is often associated with new beginnings, honesty and simplicity. Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter and art theorist, described white as ".. a great silence, like an impenetrable wall, (which) shrouds its life from our understanding. White, therefore has its harmony of silence... like many pauses in music that break temporarily the melody. It is not dead silence, but one pregnant with possibilities". Pearl Colour by Patrick Baty’s Papers and Paints is a warm white like the one in Wave, which leaves us space to admire the diagonals in the design of the paper. They represent a break, both in terms of a pause, as well as the breaking point of a wave.


Like white, black is an expression of light, but in this case its absence. Black has an expansive quality like no other colour. There are no real rules to black and no two blacks are ever the same. Railings by Farrow and Ball is a rich blue-black that perfectly captures the shadows of the barrels of Bawden’s waves as they crash down diagonally. It also alludes to the possibility of storms at sea as you find in Hokusai's The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1831).

We hope this helps with some colour inspiration. We’d love to see how you bring our wallpapers to life in your homes. Tag us on Instagram @commonroom.co, using the #mycommonroom or get in touch with images via email to info@commonroom.co


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