'Wat kan een mensch meer vergenoegen, dan dat hy, zonder een voet uit zyne kamer te zetten, de geheele waereld doorwandelt'.
Gerard de Lairesse (1640 – 1711)
Hand-painted wallhangings, a Dutch Heritage
The Dutch Golden Age is famous for its painters like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Rubens. But little is known about hand-painted wallhangings from that period. Painting large wall-to-wall landscapes was a typical Dutch craft. Between the 17th and the 18th century hundreds of walls must have been covered with these decorative paintings as a sign of luxury and wealth.
In the 17th century hand-painted wallhanging was a less expensive replacement for Tapestries(Gobelins). Another advantage was that clients could order customized wall coverings and choose size, style and subject of the sceneries.
During the early 18th century hand-painted wallhangings were made accessible for all. The Dutch had a dozen workplaces and factories producing hand-painted wallhangings on a massive scale. In the early 19th century the hand-painted wallcoverings became less popular and factories had to close. This was mostly due to a diminished Dutch economy and the foreign industrial revolution, which introduced block printed wallpaper.
By the 20th century large town houses and estates where converted into offices, hospitals or schools. The fragille wallcoverings where considered impractical and were mostly sold to foreign buyers as works of art. The consequence is that only a few survived in the Netherlands.
Hand painted gardens
About two hundred years later, wallpaper artists Marcelo Gimenes and Jaap Snijder from Snijder&CO picked up this forgotten craft. “After exploring remaining wallpaper samples in museums we decided to work only with modern materials. We did not want to copy the old samples but build upon a Dutch tradition of custom designed wallhanging sceneries”. Our craft is a contemporary version of the Dutch historical predecessor. Each design is completely handmade and is inspired by nature. With endless passion we like to paint flowers, plants and birds.
They do not work with oil paint or the stencil technique of Chinese wallpaper (Chinoiserie). “We use just ordinary wall paint (or emulsion paint), this requires a different way of working but it creates a great atmosphere with its bright colours and matte appearance”.
By working together on one design they mix their styles into something new never losing track of its decorative purpose. The wallhangings should always fit in the room for which it was intended. So they make detailed sketches and sometimes a scale model for the customer to provide a good understanding of the product.