DE GOURNAY || The World’s Most Beautiful Hand-painted Wallpapers

If you look close enough at a de Gournay wallpaper, you might still find the faint pencil marks left behind from the sketching process of every fine, hand-painted de Gournay wallpapers.

Started in 1986, founder Claud Cecil Gurney started de Gournay following an unsuccessful search for experts to restore the antique Chinoiserie wallpaper in his family home. His passion for art and Chinese history brought him to China where he investigated the possibility of working with local artists to replicate the pieces he longs for in his home.

Once in China, he quickly discovered the government's preference for mass design, making traditional hand painting of wallpaper a dying art. In an effort to save the vanishing tradition, he widened his search and eventually located artists whose parents, grandparents and ancestors had been trained in these specific techniques and who shared his wish to continue the traditions.

Hand painting process.

Today, de Gournay employs a number of skilled artisans handpainting over 50 designs on different papers and silks of the finest quality in de Gourney’s four studios. Claud continues to travel the world, drawing inspiration from the traditional and contemporary cultures of the countries he visits.

De Gournay’s ability to provide customised designs enables him to fulfill the vision of each individual: from hand-gilding with 22ct gold leaf, to creating a custom colour to compliment a surrounding interior. Their painstaking attention to detail and level of expertise drew admiration from luxury brands and world class interior designers around the world, resulting in a variety of celebrated collaborations including Chanel, Smythson, Bergdorf Goodman and The Ritz.

“At de Gournay, our aim is to bring happiness into people’s lives by creating for them light, bright, vibrant and happy interiors where they find refuge from the busy world of markets and events. Each of our interior is a work of art, hand-painted to meet the needs of discerning clients” - Claud Cecil Gurney.


Chinese wallpapers, initially known as 'India Papers', first appeared in Europe during the 17th century, adding to the growing trend for paper walls where previously fine interiors employed fabric hangings. By the mid 18th century, decorating in the Chinese taste had become the height of fashion and many of the finest interiors in the world have included at least one room in this style, with key distinguishable features being decorative flora and fauna. de Gournay's Chinoiserie Collection gives their clients the opportunity to continue decorating in the style employed by the wealthiest individuals and most of the crowned heads of Europe during the halcyon years of the 18th and 19th centuries.

‘St. Laurent’ Design in standard design colours on custom turquoise edo tea paper/ Photography by Mariam Medvedeva

‘Amazonia’ design in standard design colours on custom pink edo painted xuan paper/ Photography by Mariam Medvedeva


This collection was inspired by the Edo period, during which for almost two hundred years Japan was closed off from the rest of the world, de Gournay’s Japanese and Korean designs are strikingly simple, with a contemporary and modern feel. Painted on either a heavily textured background, or metallic leaf over-painted with a glaze or mica pigment, these two background techniques are the defining elements of this collection.

“Fishes” design in blue pearl design colours on real silver gilded paper.

“Whistler Peacocks” Design in golden colourway on empire blue dyed silk. Styling by Tara Craig.


The eye catching Eclectic Collection is inspired by contemporary decorating trends and has been created to stand apart from the traditional collections. There is a mix of elegant floral patterns, quirky designs such as palm trees and monkeys alongside abstract designs with blurred blocks of colour inspired by Mark Rothko paintings.

“Rateau” Design in standard design colours on gold bullion gilded paper with crackled paper and crackled glaze antiquing. Styling by Tara Craig.


Following in the footsteps of the 19th century French nobility who used wallcoverings as a way of glorifying their expanding empire, Papiers Peints Panoramiques is a scenic collection of the grandest, most monumental designs used to create dramatic records of great achievements, discoveries of far-off lands and peoples, commemorations of famous victories in battles, representations of bucolic French rural life and hunting scenes, representations of towns from antiquity, scenes of mythological importance, and maps and images of great cities such as Paris and Rome. The designs in this collection are partly reproductions of 19th Century originals painted using surviving documentary records and partly de Gournay’s own contemporary creations.

‘Early views of India’ design in eau forte colourway on antiqued scenic xuan paper.

Left: ‘L’eden’ design in paradiso colourway on scenic paper/ Photographed by Sarah Hogan

Right: ‘African Savannah’ Design in crystal grey colourway on scenic paper/ Photographed by Dan Marshall

Every piece is a story, and every piece a work of art. We are thoroughly impressed with the painstaking attention to detail invested into each and every de Gournay wallpaper. Each creation is a masterpiece that will go on to be cherished by its owners over time.

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