Irish wallpaper history is repeating itself

A new exhibition of traditional Irish wallpaper designs is set to open on Ormond Quay


An exhibition of handmade Irish wallpapers by David Skinner will take place in June at 18 Ormond Quay, a merchant’s building dating from the 17th century that has been beautifully restored by the Dublin Civic Trust.

Ormond Quay has a particular historic association with wallpapers having been central to an area where many of the city’s makers lived and worked in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Skinner, an authority on the subject and the author of Wallpapers in Ireland 1700-1900, has specialised in producing traditional hand-printed wallpapers for over 20 years in his Leitrim studio.

 The exhibition consists of two collections:  the Ormond Papers, a selection of patterns mixing high-end design with homely charm recreated from the best examples of Dublin paper stainers during the trade’s heyday.

From the hand-blocked Castletown Chintz from the 1760s to the Perrin Stripe of the 1854 (now available as high quality digital prints), they reflect the widening appeal of wallpaper from stately home to terraced house.

Decorative vocabulary

Three papers were developed in collaboration with the Dublin Civic Trust and used to complete the restored 1840s interior. Others called Carton, Clarendon, Bachelors Walk, Ormond Herb and Ormond Tabby are hand-screen printed in Leitrim. 

The exhibition also includes four World’s End papers inspired by the blue and white World’s End pottery in Collins Barracks and Peter Francis’s scholarly study Irish Ceramic at Churchill.

The papers translate the decorative vocabulary of Irish delftware and its sources during one of the most vibrant periods in the history of decorative art in Ireland into the medium of wallpaper and are digitally printed onto an easy-to-apply base ready for your walls.

The exhibition takes place from Tuesday, June 11th to Saturday, June 15th, from 10am-5pm daily. Prices for David Skinner wallpaper start at €120.