South Downs wallpaper – the inspiration


Posted by Jane Tobitt

It's a question we're sometimes asked... Where does the inspiration for your work come from? In a general sense it really can be anything from an intriguing pub quiz question to the shape of a crocus flowering. But if we look at our designs individually there is often a clear link between the source and the finished product. 

Each month we're hoping to showcase one of our new wallpaper designs and talk about the inspiration behind the finished product, so a peek behind the scenes.

First up is our South Downs wallpaper, which is a design that is very close to my heart. I grew up in Sussex and was inspired by the landscape I saw as a child. My Parents would probably say I spent much of our walks on the Seven Sisters complaining about being "tired" but from adult eyes it seems like an idyllic way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I'm not the first to be inspired by the vistas in that area, Eric Ravilious was a prolific painter of Sussex and I'm a big admirer of his work. The way the light catches the hills, the chalk cliffs, the gentle curves that repeat for miles, it's a calm place.

The Vale of the white Horse, Eric Ravilious

Chalk Paths, Eric Ravilious

I’d been thinking for a while about how we could create an artwork based on the tranquility of the rolling hills. Originally I considered designing a print, but when we started working on our first wallpaper collection this idea lent itself to the continuum of repeat pattern. So the hills were the starting point and that evolved into a graphic interpretation. Initially the hills were plain with thick lines, almost like a Patrick Caulfield outline, I looked at tonal shadows, but the cleanest result came with the stripes.

These examples show our colour proofs, checking the match up at the manufacturers and the finished designs.