The National Trust’s Saltram House in Devon was originally the home of the Parker family and the Earls of Morley. The Parkers introduced plasterwork and Chinese wallpapers in their redecoration of Saltram in the 1740s. It is one of the few grand houses where so many Chinese wallpapers have survived. Some of the rooms which were decorated with hand-painted Chinese wallpaper included the Study, which had been decorated in the mid-eighteenth century as a bedroom or sitting room for one of the ladies of the house. It was later used as the 3rd Earl of Morley’s study in the late nineteenth century. Sections of wallpaper and decorative pictures on paper of differing sizes and subjects were framed by European key-fret strips.
The painted silk hanging wallpaper in the Chinese Chippendale bedroom is panoramic, showing people engaged in various occupations and industries. Mid-eighteenth-century Chinese mirror paintings hang on top of the wallpaper and the exotic atmosphere of the room is completed with chairs and shelves with chinoiserie fretwork. The Chinese Dressing Room has the oldest wallpaper at Saltram, dating from the early eighteenth century, which depicts elegant people in a garden setting. Various birds and other elements have been cut from other papers and pasted in. Due to the willowy female figures, this pattern is called the ‘Long Elizas’.
The paper in the Mirror Room is made up of section of a panoramic wallpaper, augmented by glass paintings, fretwork furniture, lacquer and porcelain. Many grand houses would have had more than one Chinese wallpaper in the past, but Saltram is one of the few where so many of them have survived.
Sources: National Trust- 1, 2, 3