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Colour Notes 8.0

It's officially summer, which means our dreams of sunshine and long, warm nights have finally become a reality. So, to follow on from our earlier Colour Notes looking at Voysey's 1918 Lioness & Palms ~ Midday, we thought we'd turn our attention to our alternative colourway, Midnight.

This wallpaper evokes tropical climes, with its deep blue ground, vibrant flowers, and, of course, its prowling lioness. There's a pacificity to be found in this paper, reminiscent of twilights spent on holiday - so it's the perfect print for instilling a sense of opulence into your space.


Very few colours elicit such a reaction as blue. Some associate it with sadness, others with tranquillity and hope. In many cultures, blue is synonymous with bravery; in Hinduism, the god Vishnu is often depicted as a blue-skinned hero. 'Navy blue' was coined as such due to the colour's inherent strength, and doctors' scrubs are often blue-toned to help inspire stability and trust.

Blue has been a coveted colour throughout history. In the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli - a semi-precious stone - was first exported from the Middle East to Europe, where it was ground into a powder and turned into ultramarine, a hugely expensive pigment. Ultramarine has been used by some of the world's most beloved artists, including Vermeer and Titian, often for the clothing worn by the Virgin Mary, symbolising her status.

It would be remiss of us not to mention Yves Klein's International Klein Blue: a pure ultramarine shade Klein claimed to have invented. According to Moma, Klein saw his 1961 work, Blue Monochrome, as an 'open window to freedom, as the possibility of being immersed in the immeasurable existence of colour.' We hope you, too, will find yourself immersed in the blue ground of Lioness & Palms in Midnight. We found this wonderful shade, Priya M's blue, at Francesca's Paints, which matches perfectly.


Green works beautifully with Lioness & Palms ~ Midnight, as it sits alongside blue on the colour wheel and so would allow the wallpaper to lead seamlessly into surrounding paintwork. It would also enhance the magnificent palms repeated in the design, bringing a natural brightness to a room.

When considering which shades of green might work well, we were reminded of this painting: 'Baboon' (2016). It's by the brilliant Michael Armitage, a Kenyan-born artist whose work conjures paradise in a surrealist sense. He turns the tropes of colonialist art on their head with suggestive imagery and an underlying discomfort to his paintings. This work in particular utilises green paint to bring the almost-human baboon, and its surrounding environment, to life in a vivid, memorable way. Moreover, the painterly style of Armitage's art is mirrored in Voysey's: you can see the individual brush strokes, giving a texture and liveliness to both works.

So, to help create an arresting but beautiful aesthetic, we colour-matched Lioness & Palms ~ Midnight with Farrow & Ball's Breakfast Room Green.


And finally, in the spirit of bringing some sunshine indoors, we turned to browny-yellow and orange hues to colour-match with our Lioness & Palms ~ Midnight.

We love how the orange flowers - standing tall like bright beacons - complement the more tawny shade of the lioness. This is definitely achievable when it comes to paint colours. Here, we went for Paper & Paint Library's Muga, as well as Dutch Orange by Farrow & Ball, though there's plenty more daring sunshine colours you could try, including Francesca's Paint's Girija's Orange. All it takes is a little confidence, and we guarantee you'll feel more cheerful upon entering a brightly painted space.Lioness & Palms by CFA Voysey is available in Midnight and Midday.

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.

Words by Alice Hodgson.


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