Block-printed wallpaper gallery

Block-printing is a method of relief printing by hand, from flat blocks that were traditionally made from wood.

These blocks are typically constructed with a thin facing layer of fruitwood into which the pattern is carved, and which is re-inforced by backing layers of softwood. As well as carving, the design can also be built up from metal pins and shaped pieces of metal hammered into the surface of the block and packed with felt. Separate blocks are normally used for each colour.

Carved wallpaper printing block
Carved wallpaper printing block

Photo courtesy of Andrew Bush

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Detail of printing block showing felt inserts
Detail of printing block showing felt inserts

Photo courtesy of Andrew Bush

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Detail of distemper hand-blocked printed wallpaper, early 19th C
Detail of distemper hand-blocked printed wallpaper, early 19th C

Note the horizontal overlapping paper join to form a roll from individual sheets of handmade paper before printing. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bush

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Portion of wallpaper with classical panels, early 19th C.
Portion of wallpaper with classical panels, early 19th C.

E.525-1914, ©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

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Vues de L'Inde, French scenic wallpaper, Dufour et Cie, early 19th C.
Vues de L'Inde, French scenic wallpaper, Dufour et Cie, early 19th C.

French scenic wallpapers required many blocks to be cut to build up the different colours in the picture. W.1967.176.7, ©The Whitworth, The University of Manchester

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Adapted from a Moroccan tile pattern, 'Eyes' was hand block-printed at Brixton Print Shed, c.2016
Adapted from a Moroccan tile pattern, 'Eyes' was hand block-printed at Brixton Print Shed, c.2016

© Matthew Meadows/Brixton Print Shed

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If you have an photograph that would fit in this gallery and you would allow us to publish it we would be interested in seeing it. Click here to send it to us for review.