About the conference

Chinese wallpaper in the Chinese bedroom at Belton, depicting a garden party
Detail of the painted wallpaper in the Chinese Bedroom, Belton House. ©National Trust Images/Martin Trelawny

Click here for practical information for delegates

Click here for the conference programme and timetable

Click here for speakers’ abstracts and biographies 

Click here for additional links and information on wallpapers mentioned or shown at the conference

A conference on the subject of Chinese wallpaper will take place in London on 7 and 8 April 2016, with an optional excursion to Brighton on 9 April. The event is being organised jointly by the National Trust and the Victoria and Albert Museum, with generous support from Coutts & Co and the Royal College of Art.

Chinese wallpaper is a product that is finely balanced between east and west, art and design, trade and taste. It has been an important component of western interiors for about 250 years, but it has sometimes been taken for granted, literally fading into the background.

However, over the last few decades the conservation of Chinese wallpapers has developed considerably. It is now also the subject of increasing scholarly interest. Traditional-style hand-made Chinese wallpaper is still being produced today and is now also in demand in China itself.

The aim of this conference is to stimulate the momentum of the research into Chinese wallpaper and to capture some of the recent findings. The papers to be presented will include European, American and Chinese perspectives and will look at Chinese wallpaper as art, as design, as cross-cultural exchange, as commodity and as material object.

The first day of the conference will be hosted by Coutts at their premises in the Strand – still containing the Chinese wallpaper acquired by banker Thomas Coutts in the late eighteenth century.

The second day will be held at the Victoria and Albert Museum and will include the viewing of actual Chinese export wallpapers from the museum’s collection – the largest in the world, but much of it not normally on display.

On 9 April there will be an optional excursion to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, where Chinese wallpaper formed an important component of the Prince Regent’s decorative vision. Places for this visit are limited. To reserve one please contact A.Loske@sussex.ac.uk

Confirmed speakers: Thomas Brain,  Dr Sarah Cheang, Dr Patrick Conner, Emile de Bruijn, Andrew Bush, Lizzie Deshayes, Dominic Evans-Freke, TK McClintock, Allyson McDermott, Beate Murr, David Skinner, Dr Clare Taylor, Dr Max Tillmann, Dr Anita Xiaoming Wang, Dr Friedrike Wappenschmidt, Pauline Webber and Anna Wu.

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The organising committee:

Emile de Bruijn (National Trust) – emile.debruijn@nationaltrust.org.uk
Andrew Bush (National Trust) – andrew.bush@nationaltrust.org.uk
Dr Alexandra Loske (Royal Pavilion, Brighton/University of Sussex) – a.loske@sussex.ac.uk
Anna Wu (RCA/V&A) – anna.wu@network.rca.ac.uk

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