A couple of weeks ago I had a very exciting and emotional day visiting Moda, Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture which is part of Middlesex University. They have a fantastic archive and amongst that are many wallpaper designs by my father Roger and uncle Robert Nicholson... along with many of their contemporaries of that time ... 1956 - late 1960s.
This body of work was made for Palladio Wallpapers and I remember a lot of the designs being worked on in his studio as a very young child. Some of them were used to cover the walls of our house in Sissinghurst, Kent and when I came across one which I had in my bedroom it was like coming across an old and dear friend, every tendril and break in the ink was familiar, every secret face hidden in amongst the design, we all look so intently at our bedroom walls as children, a sort of half dreamlike place where the wallpaper design takes on a life of it's own full of monsters and faces, movements, and secret places. You can see the design below ... of an intertwining clematis.
The designs were all in old wallpaper sample books kindly brought out by the lady who had got in touch with me from the museum, together with articles of the time from Architectural Reviews, with adverts for the wallpapers drawn by my father ...
Every page turned was thrilling and I found I was able to spot many of his and also of a dear family friend Ted Hughes (not the poet!), Eric Thomas and of my uncle Robert Nicholson.
But a surprise was finding papers designed by my father which I had not seen before! Such a delight to see them and together with the archive I have at home and also the collection at the V&A, I realise that I must do something about bringing his work to the public eye. I am going with Moda to see the collection at the V&A very soon and I am really excited to go into the inner sanctum ... I will report back of course.
I hope to gather more information over the next few weeks and add to this article ... Forgive the iphoneness of the photos!
|I am pretty sure this is one of my fathers ... the faces are so like those he drew ....|
|Robert Nicholson design|
|One I had not seen ...|
|This was my bedroom wallpaper!|