On the 26th September we were kindly invited to a fascinating talk held in the beautiful Guy Goodfellow Showroom to listen to Allyson McDermott & Kassia St Clair in conversation.

Captured from beginning to end, we not only learnt about the history of colour, which Kassia St Clair has studied extensively, subsequently publishing several books on colour, but we were also introduced to the most charming and beautiful new collection of wallpapers, a design collaboration between Allyson McDermott & Lady Ashcombe of Sudely Castle.

Allyson McDermott has spent a lifetime conserving historic wallpapers and researching materials and techniques to ensure they have a new lease of life. Allyson has used techniques including printing, varnishing, gilding, embossing, hand-painting and flocking. Lady Ashcombe of Sudely Castle approached Allyson to give a little love to the exquisite original Chinese Chinoiserie in her bedroom, which required a little attention which was provided.

Having been inspired by unseen designs, Allyson McDermott and Lady Ashcombe have created some beautiful wallpapers which we hope we’ll soon be able to use.

We were told about the toxicity of Scheele’s Green, created in 1775 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele which contained deadly quantities of Arsenic. However this green was painted on walls, used in wallpaper, clothes, fake flowers and grapes – which sadly had fatal consequences, but due to the brilliance of the colour Britain continued to use it for maybe a little longer than wise.

The other fascinating colour to hear about was Ultra-Marine, derivef from the Latin word ‘Ultramarines’ meaning ‘Beyond the Sea’. It was given this name for as it sounds, it was sourced from mines in Afghanistan, and imported by Italian traders to Europe in the 14th-15th Century. Ultra Marine was remarkably expensive due to it originally being made from gaining Lapis Lazuli into a power. It remained extremely expensive until an artificial ultramarine was invented in 1826.