Roller-printed wallpaper gallery

These papers are created using a rotary machine-printing technique in which the wallpaper is fed around a large central drum. 

This central drum is surrounded by several smaller rollers. These rollers may be engraved or etched (intaglio) or alternatively have a raised surface (relief). Each roller contributes a different part of the overall design and is fed by its own tray of colour. 

These formed a significant part of production from about 1850 to 1970. The wallpaper industry commonly referred to relief-printed papers as Surface-Printed wallpapers. Examples of these papers are shown below. 

For intaglio-printed papers, usually referred to as Sanitary wallpapers (from about 1880 to 1930), please see our separate Sanitary wallpapers page.

Detail of relief roller
Detail of relief roller

Photo courtesy of Andrew Bush

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Surface printed wallpaper in water-based colours from relief roller. 19th C
Surface printed wallpaper in water-based colours from relief roller. 19th C

Early Victorian fragment salvaged from a door. 19C. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bush

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Detail (1) of unexposed 20C wallpaper.
Detail (1) of unexposed 20C wallpaper.

Designer unknown. Note: 'BCM/WPM English-made Registration applied for'. A B Collection. Photo: A Bush

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Detail (2) of unexposed 20C wallpaper.
Detail (2) of unexposed 20C wallpaper.

Designer unknown. Note: 'BCM/WPM. English-made. Registration applied for'. AB Collection. Photo: A Bush

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An unexposed sample from a 1903 sample wallpaper book,  detail
An unexposed sample from a 1903 sample wallpaper book, detail

Source: C Weedon & Co, London. Builders sample wallpaper book, 1903 season. Designer/maker unknown. AB Collection. Photo: A Bush

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Mid Victorian wallpaper in situ at NT Chastleton House, detail
Mid Victorian wallpaper in situ at NT Chastleton House, detail

Many colours, but printed on ungrounded paper. Thin brown background stripes show a now discoloured paper base. Designer/ maker unknown. 19C. NT. Photo: A Bush

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Source: Portland Wallpapers sample book 6, 1923.
Source: Portland Wallpapers sample book 6, 1923.

A B Collection. Photo: A Bush

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Source: Portland Wallpapers sample book 6, 1923.
Source: Portland Wallpapers sample book 6, 1923.

A B Collection. Photo: A Bush

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Source: Portland Wallpapers sample book 6, 1923.
Source: Portland Wallpapers sample book 6, 1923.

A B Collection. Photo: A Bush

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Source: Portland Wallpapers sample book 6, 1923.
Source: Portland Wallpapers sample book 6, 1923.

A B Collection. Photo: A Bush

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Floral wallpaper surface printed in water based colours from a relief roller c.1917
Floral wallpaper surface printed in water based colours from a relief roller c.1917

Photo courtesy of Andrew Bush

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Sanitary wallpaper printed in oil based colours from an intaglio roller c.1917
Sanitary wallpaper printed in oil based colours from an intaglio roller c.1917

Photo courtesy of Andrew Bush

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