Design Centre Stories

Palatial Origins

Cole & Son’s latest collection, Great Masters, has some opulent roots – it was inspired by the six royal residences cared for by Historic Royal Palaces, including Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London – yet the skill of its designers is to translate these grand origins into wallcoverings that feel at home in domestic or commercial settings. Touches of the surreal and a playful approach to scale have helped to create a collection that is far from being just a straightforward take on period pattern.

Several of the designs are architecturally inspired: ‘Verrio Sky’ (above left) depicts a classical facade with blue skies and scudding clouds glimpsed beyond its elegant arched windows (there’s also a companion wallpaper, ‘Fresco Sky’, that just shows the cloud pattern on its own); while ‘Royal Jardiniere’ (above centre) shows a row of classical niches, each filled with blossoming orange trees, in homage to artist Antonio Verrio’s work at Hampton Court’s Little Bedchamber. Great Masters also features panelled designs for creating a dramatic mural throughout a room, including ‘Verdure Tapestry’ (main image, top).

These strong, statement-making wallcoverings are contrasted with some more delicate floral themes, including ‘Court Embroidery’ (above right), which started life as an early-19th-century courtier’s waistcoat now in the Royal Ceremonial Dress collection, and comes on a rich dark ground as well as the lighter, spring-like palette pictured.

Cole & Son, Ground Floor, Centre Dome