Just as burning curiosity turns our heads heavenwards to investigate the mysteries of the sky, this wallpaper seizes our gaze through its fiery appeal, beckoning us to contemplate it’s piercing reds and swirling repeats. Eerie but whimsical faces peer back at the viewer, each sun has a small grin in one moment and a perfectly round mouth in the next; large oval eyes and a symmetrical, oblong nose add to their uncanny visage. Framing these celestial bodies are triangles, tear drops, and other geometric shapes that reveal the meticulous quality of the ever repeating pattern. Deepening this sense of repetition is the subtle push and pull of darker and lighter reds, enhancing the visual flow of the paper.
The designer of this striking wallpaper, Peggy Angus, was a Chilean-born artist who spent the majority of her life working and creating in England. Angus was best known in the 1950’s and 1960’s for her work in textiles and throughout her life as a dedicated educator.(1) Due to her preferred method of printing by hand, Angus’s wallpaper designs have been praised by critics for their uniqueness. “No two prints, even from the same block, are exactly alike. The subtle irregularity in the pressure of the printers hand can never be matched by the machine.”(2) Angus’s papers can also vary in color as each design, due to the nature of her lino-cut block printing process, is easily transferable.
Emily Ewen is a graduate student in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies program offered jointly by the Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She is a Fellow in the museum’s Wallcoverings Department.
“Carolyn Trant Talks about Peggy Angus.” Vimeo. Accessed October 19, 2018. https://vimeo.com/277434238.
“Peggy Angus.” Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA). Accessed October 19, 2018. https://moda.mdx.ac.uk/peggy-angus/.