13 December 2009

Glorious Papers for all Seasons-Marthe Armitage-Hamilton Weston

the Gardeners

I have always loved wallpaper- Unabashedly, unashamedly. The idea that it follows trend, that is to say- the idea of being a follower of trends is beyond silly. Is wallpaper back? It never went away. I use it and my clients love to use it. I can see some of these papers in a upcoming project I can't wait to start. Yet I will say-there is nothing worse than a bad Wallpaper-But there is nothing more stunning and elegant than a Glorious one. Here the Glorious-MARTHE ARMITAGE.
Chiswick House
blue and gold

In a world of mass production-mass anything and everything-Marthe's work stands alone. Not only are her exquisite papers of her own design,, Marthe Armitage also cuts the design in lino blocks & presses the rolls by hand.
It seems fitting the an the esteemed team of HAMILTON WESTON represent Marthe.Hamilton Weston’s beautiful wallpapers now hang in stately homes and other heritage projects throughout the UK, as well as enhancing film and television sets,corporate buildings & private homes around the world. Interior designer Georgina Hamilton and architectural historian Robert Weston have been specialising in classic interiors since 1981, when they founded Hamilton Weston Wallpapers to reproduce their unique archive of historic wallpapers. (from the Hamilton Weston site) Their own papers are recreated from documents of original period papers.

Marthe Armitage working with Hops Garden 
Issue 155

Looking at the Marthe Armitage patterns, distributed by HAMILTON WESTON (here), one is hard pressed to point to a favourite. I narrowed mine down to 8 patterns and that was a chore. Alas, while looking back through the designs I think- but what about MANOR HOUSE, TREE GARDEN, WILLOW? Marthe individually hand blocks to order all the patterns in her Chiswick studio. The lines of the printing can be clearly seen and all colours are mixed by hand. Marthe prefers to work with her colour palette- Green, Aqua, Blues to Black, Yellow, Ochre, Lilac and soft Reds.

Marthe on Gardening  
"I don't like hard-edge design or bright plants -What they do to flowers these days is a scandal."

Thistle- a Marthe Armitage fabric
mauve on cotton


Marthe on Her Designs 
"The different ways plants grow is infinite."

 spring green on white

Marthe on Wallpaper
"Wallpaper should be a background-
I don't like bright colours; they should blend"

grey green

Marthe started her love affair with papers as a young artist, wife, mother-with necessity- she wanted to decorate her new home- but couldn't afford much. Being an original, she "made some wallpaper to cover up some very bad walls. I stuck it up and one or tow people siad-that's nice" (MA) When the firm of HAMILTON WESTON featured a selection of papers in their shop window, followed by a story in World of Interiors- MARTHE ARMITAGE's papers are in demand.

(image from BBC Gardens Illustrated)


Tabacco Plant
black on gold

Hamilton Weston does an amazing collection of period document papers in house. Loving document papers and fabrics- again it was difficult to make selections-I thought about  papers that would float beautifully from Marthe Armitage papered rooms. Here they are-
Richmond Trellis
from 1840

Strand Teardrop


& finally-
A jewel in the crown of Hamilton Weston is the pattern Charlecote Strapwork. Charlecote was digitally printed especially for the Warner Brothers,Guy Ritchie film SHERLOCK HOLMES, starring Robert Downey Jr.- release on Christmas day 2009.
Perfect for the brooding Sherlock Holmes- a favourite sleuth of mine-I might add.

In this day when so many things fly by night-Marthe Armitage is working her way through limbs, boughs, gardens and wayside flowers & slowly leaving an indelible impression on paper- sure to be documents in their own right and time.

more Hamilton Weston and Robert Weston:
 All papers are available to order on line directly from the Hamilton Weston London office. They are all handprinted to special order.

Visit the site for more papers and glimpses of period homes and publications featuring Hamilton Weston here
Miles Redd uses a Marthe Armitage paper in a children's room in the December 2009 Elle Decor here

All images used with permission from Robert Weston.


  1. I must see the movie now! Gorgeous. I do share your love of wallpaper.

  2. Aemitage should be declared a national treasure.

    Weston's Lambeth Saracen is one of my all time favourites.

  3. Pamela- I am a big SH fan as I said-the movie's interactive site is pretty impressive. I will be looking for this paper throughout the entire flick! Wallpaper may be my ongoing post for 2010~ GT

  4. HOBAC- true! I feel woefully unworthy of her artistry and craft. These papers struck me deeply. The Saracen is pretty great too. Would LOVE to use the Gardeners in an upcoming project- the MA scenics are my favourites. GT

  5. Oh my word. I suddenly want walls covered in that glorious paper and to know more about this incredibly talented woman. I love that the colors are subtle.

  6. LOVE THIS! I agree with HOBAC about her being a national treasure. As a homeowner with a modest home in a modest neighborhood and the only immodest occupant is my imagination, I appreciate that the Marthe's pull toward beauty and practical solutions ended up with the creation of magnificence.
    I stand in awe of her in front of her press with such loveliness being printed. Have always loved the interiors of Sherlock Holmes. Look forward to this.

  7. Must say that Strapwork for Sherlock looks pretty terrific. Love the color combination, should be a great film. the Armitage papers are amazing . I can imagine any of these wallpapers changing an entire house setting the tone. On board about the paper. AW

  8. These are stunning! My dream is to one day have a room papered in William Morris print wallpaper...

  9. There is wallpaper, and then there is really nice handprinted wallpaper, and then there is art. These are so extraodinary! Thank you for sharing them.

  10. PVE-yes the color palette is beautiful, a real artist. GT

  11. Home, Anon. I do love the Sherlock Holmes story and always fascinated by set design in the movies.

    Home-yes it is interesting how the beautiful can be useful- or something like that. GT

  12. Beautiful. I think Cobweb is so charming. Loved all of her quotes that you included.

  13. It's hard to imagine the complexity and time-consumingness of the process involved in producing Marthe's papers. Very beautiful and unlike anything I've seen. Well done again LA!

  14. So fresh and beautiful! I love them.

    BTW, have you seen HNE's wallpaper database? I can get lost in there for hours:


  15. Marthe is an inspiration. Her wallpaper transcends its purpose to become graphic art in its own right.

  16. Love it - I'm a huge fan of Marthe Armitage! If only she took apprentices!!



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