The old 1970s magazines besides being a mine of interiors photography are also a great resource of advertising such as this Van Luit & Co advertisement for one of a series of murals.
Processional, described as "a spectacular decorative accent for the home, office or important commercial interior. Taken from an old, Chinese rubbing and available in four distinct colorways."
A while ago I began this series about walls and each time something catches my eye I wonder why we no longer appreciate wall decoration such as this. I know that fashion plays a role and it could be that a point was reached when the collective eye at the end of the 1970s became overwhelmed with pattern and color and sought refuge in neutrality.
Admittedly, many of the 1970s murals and wall decorations were full of bombast and pomp, rich in allusion and exoticism, as are the murals and wall decorations in places such as, for example, the Brighton Pavilion and we find those attractive, beautiful even. Is it because we are influenced by the fact that the paper or mural has been deemed worthy of collection and conservation?
I think part of the answer lies in the now dead but long-lasting fad for faux finishes - paint effects that swamped interiors for the best part of a decade. There are people still working with faux finishes, craftsmen who can imitate marble and wood, painters who prefer to work on walls, yet we see so little of them in present-day decorating. Hand-painted Chinese wallpaper panels are pretty much all we see.
Some of you might look at the photo above and shudder, thinking perhaps that you're never likely to see the likes again. But remember this: you probably said the same about purple, dark brown and aqua, but look how those colors are being used today. Personally, I would not like to see a return to the indiscriminate use of faux- or distressed-finishes, but I would love to see some drama spread over the bland walls of the early 21st century. The telling of stories in this form is gone and a great pity it is.