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13 November 2014

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You are in: Nottingham > History > Local history > Notts treasures: Ancient wallpaper

Sally Nightingale from DH Lawrence Heritage

Notts treasures: Ancient wallpaper

A fortuitous find and modern technology has helped brighten up DH Lawrence's bedroom.

Visitors to DH Lawrence's home in Eastwood have always been able to look at his bed and furniture.

However, it's only since the start of 2007 that his bedroom's been decorated with the same design of wallpaper that would have existed when he was born more than a hundred years ago.

DH Lawrence wallpaper

Scrap of wallpaper that led to the reproduction

A lucky find

It was during a spot of maintenance two years previously, in 2005, that the wallpaper discovery was made.

Sally Nightingale is from DH Lawrence Heritage.

"We had some damp come through the window. That led us to replace the wallpaper that was already there.

"The curator was looking at... cupboards and she actually found an area that was hidden. It contained scraps of old wallpaper and paint."


Sally says it was an exciting discovery.

"We had it sent to a specialist. It was analysed and it was found to be of [Lawrence's] period so we were able to reproduce the wallpaper and give a very different look to the room."

Experts are convinced the wallpaper dates from the time Lawrence's family lived in the house that is now a museum to the Sons and Lovers author.

"He was born here in 1885. The family lived here from 1883 to 1887 so it was found to be of that period. It's as good a match as we're ever going to get."

The look

The wallpaper is very chintzy, with a cream / yellow background and a green floral pattern. Sally says it was a way of bringing the countryside into your home.

"If you couldn't afford it you'd white wash your walls. If you could you'd use wallpaper. The Lawrence family weren't rich but had enough to wallpaper.

"It was something to be proud of. It does [dominate] the room but it makes the room feel warmer. If you think about it, it would have been freezing in the winter and you needed something to warm up the walls."

Sally Nightingale from DH Lawrence Heritage in the bedroom where the wallpaper was found

The cupboard where scraps of wallpaper were found

Unearthing the past

The discovery is important because there's no photographic evidence of what the interior of the Lawrence home looked like.

"It's a working class house but now we've discovered something that's tangible evidence, that's unique. It compliments the museum well by giving it a more authentic feel."

Future plans

Lawrence's birthplace might be about to reveal more secrets.

Sally Nightingale says: "We have found scraps in other rooms. These projects cost a lot of money but further down the line we're hopeful we can give an authentic feel to each room as we go along."

last updated: 13/05/2009 at 17:58
created: 24/04/2009

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