I Know this is making a flockery out of wallpaper

flockNot sure about its validity but, I am going to suggest that the collective noun for rolls of wallpaper is … “A Flock of Wallpaper“. I base this on the following example of: “A-Block-of-Mock-Flock” wallpaper, which I am recalling from that horrid ’70s furry-looking designed wallpaper, that came out of fashion quicker than it took to hang it in the first place. It became so passé, that it made the word  “kitsch” redefine itself.  However, with the recent influx of ‘vampy‘ chandeliers, and exotic bedroom boudoirs,  flock and other wallpaper designs are seeing a resurgence.

The status of flock wallpaper has undergone a dramatic transformation over the space of three centuries. Originally invented to imitate “cut velvet” it was made of powdered wool; a waste product of the woollen cloth industry. Once considered a luxury product used by the wealthy in the grandest apartments, it declined into nothing more than fashionable decoration for suburban homes, (ho-hum, that was us); and later, Indian restaurants where it was intended to evoke an atmosphere of Colonial grandeur.  (Remember sitting in the restaurant after a few drinks, stroking your hands across the furry flocky wall?)

flock wallpaperIn its early history in the 1730s, many flock wallpapers were direct imitations of original damask or velvet designs. The range of flock patterns available seems to have been relatively limited, with one design;  a crimson flock on a deep pink background, which has faded to yellowish buff on most surviving examples. This pattern was hung in the offices of His Majesty’s Privy Council, Whitehall, London, around 1735. It was also used in the Queen’s Drawing Room in Hampton Court Palace. 

The same pattern represented in green flock, was hung around 1745, in the Picture Gallery at Temple Newsam, Leeds. The design came from an Italian brocade and damask curtain, both in the Department of Textiles and Dress at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A). Although flock papers have been produced in many styles, the designs of the early 18th century have survived as a standard and for an approach to decorating which stands outside fashion.

When it comes to being an appreciator of wall-papering or not, I am not one of those who wishes to be referred to as being, ‘stuck up’; but as to others – if you are a fan of it, you might well ‘get flocked’; but if you aren’t, you might prefer to ‘flock off’  – in the most delightful way! (‘as they say in the classics…’).

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