Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers

by Biglin Architectural Group on March 13, 2012

A Century of Design Explored through Hand-Printed Fine Art Wallpapers

During a recent visit to the Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, we attended The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde, 1860 – 1900, an exhibit which explores the British Aesthetic Movement. The exhibit featured the art wallpapers of Bradbury & Bradbury. Instantly enamored by the intricate details of their hand-printed papers, we decided to reach out to them. Owner and Artistic Director, Stephen Bauer was gracious enough to give us a closer look at his company, new designs in the works, and the fine art of silk screening the beautiful patterns one color at a time.

Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers“Our company has grown its collection “chronologically” in step with the restoration of homes from the 1860s to the 1960s.  As far as our next style, we are endeavoring  to “fill in some gaps” like a Gothic set of papers, Colonial Revival and Art Nouveau, for example.  On the drawing board next is a set of papers that recreate some of the whimsical Victorian naturalist patterns incorporating the flora and fauna of ponds, which should be fun.

Our clients are largely historic homeowners throughout the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. We have built a rock-solid reputation with them over the years and many of them are loyal repeat customers.  We have also done work for many State Capitol buildings, Governors’ mansions, museum homes (like Henry Ford’s, Mark Twain’s and William McKinley’s), as well as museums (examples include the MFA in Boston, Legion of Honor San Francisco and the Museé de Papier Peint in France).  We also have wallpaper installed in many of the Walt Disney Parks, and on the sets of dozens of movies (you can see Captain Hook tear our wallpaper as he descends the stairs in “Hook”).  You will also see our wallpapers used in many T.V. shows; most recently in “Boardwalk Empire” and soon, “Downtown Abbey.”

Hampshire Damask in SterlingWe are often inspired first of all, by the wonderful wallpaper designers and patterns of times past.  Wallpaper had been considered a serious art form and very respected decorating medium as early as the 1830s, and rightly so.  Anyone who has seen what the French were producing during the first half of the 19th century and what the British produced during the latter half couldn’t help but be amazed at how imaginative and effective designers had become at using paper to transform interiors into breathtaking showplaces of status and refined taste.  We also look at the natural world as well for inspiration, bringing the harmonies of color and the quiet repose of gardens inside.

We also love the design styles of the 20th century, and have found pattern inspirations from great Art Deco era metal work, 1950s atomic motifs and the psychedelic patterns from the 60s (many of which were Victorian and Art Nouveau patterns recolored,by the way).  Everything is derivative in some way, and so we look to what we consider to be the “best” in design to inspire us to do our best work.

Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers | William Morris "St. James" DesignWhen it comes to hand-printed wallpaper like ours, the design process itself is much less interesting than the silk screen process used to print the final wallpaper.  It is an old and very labor intensive process, printing one color at a time and one repeat at a time until the entire pattern is “built” before your eyes.  One pattern we print is William Morris’ 17-color St. James design, which we were originally commissioned to produce in 1984 by George Lucas for his Skywalker Ranch. This design can take about eight hours to print all 17 screens for a total of about 34 finished rolls.  Our printing tolerances are very tight, often within 1/8″ inch. A job like that can be a real nail-biter, but thankfully we have fantastic printers who know their craft.  And since we are, in a sense producing such fine serigraphs for the wall, we like to recommend a professional paperhangers for all installations, to ensure the very best results.”


Bradbury & Bradbury is located in Benicia, California and has been hand-printing fine art wallpapers since 1979. A display of their work can be seen currently at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco as a part of The Cult of Beauty exhibit running from February 18 – June 17, 2012. Their collections cover a century of interior design eras from the Victorian era to the Arts & Crafts movement to Art Deco and Modern design.

All of Bradbury & Bradbury’s Art Wallpapers are available to purchase through their website. They also offer a selection of fabrics, lace curtains, and posters. Swatches and samples of all of their products are available to order for as little as $1.00.

Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers

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Phone: (707) 746-1900



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