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‘An English Butterfly Garden’ Katharine Pooley for Fromental

Katharine Pooley was inspired by the idyllic flower-filled gardens nestled in the heart of the English countryside. This delicate and enchanting collection showcases a harmonious landscape teeming with intricate hand-painted and hand-embroidered details.

With a meticulous attention to craftsmanship, each element of the wallcovering brings a sense of history and romanticism into any interior. The collection not only captivates with its elegance and exquisite design, but it also carries a deeper purpose. For every piece sold, a generous donation will be made to support the British Butterfly Conservation charity, which is committed to protecting and conserving endangered British butterflies and their habitats.

The collection offers a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Chinoiserie style, featuring an original and captivating aesthetic. The wallpaper is meticulously painted by Fromental's artists on silk, reflecting the charming details of the gardens surrounding Katharine's Georgian home in Oxfordshire.

With an array of Katharine's favourite flowers adorning the design, including honeysuckle, camellias, lilac, and many more, the wallpaper is available in two colourways: primrose yellow and a softer light fawn hue. Unexpected elements such as shy hedgehogs, jewel-like beetles, and a delightful array of fluttering butterflies lend a whimsical touch, evoking a sense of wandering into a secret English garden full of beauty and intrigue. This collaboration embodies Katharine's personal passion for British butterflies and her commitment to supporting their conservation.

Inspired by travel, the natural world, architecture, fashion, literature and art, Katharine views Mother Nature as her greatest inspiration: “The beauty and diversity of our surrounding environment is a constant solace and inspiration. My aesthetic is a juxtaposition of so many different and evolving passions and loves, but my appreciation for the natural world is the seed of every design; its beauty is infinite and extraordinary.”

Why did you choose to collaborate with Fromental for this wallpaper collection, and how did your creative visions align?

Having worked with Fromental for many years and experiencing the extraordinary beauty of their wallpapers in numerous projects, it was a natural choice for this collaboration. Their originality, creativity, and "can do attitude" always made them the perfect fit when we needed show-stopping hand-painted wallpapers. Last year, during our work on the legendary Château de la Croix-des-Gardes on the French Riviera (for which we picked several Fromental wallpapers for the bedroom suites), I discussed with Tim the idea of creating a collection together, which resonated with our shared ethos of craftsmanship, creativity, and beauty.

What inspired the 'An English Butterfly Garden' wallpaper collection?

My garden in the English countryside brings me so much pleasure and peace. It's my "happy space" when I'm not traveling the world for our projects. The flowers, trees, and wildlife in my garden are endlessly inspiring and relaxing. The beauty of the natural world inspires many aspects of our work. Therefore, the idea of creating a wallpaper collection based on the flowers in my garden and the interwoven shapes and textures of the blooms and leaves in classic English flower borders became so appealing. We decided to create a contemporary interpretation of a traditional hand-painted and hand-embroidered Chinoiserie silk wallpaper, celebrating the charm of a quintessential English garden in full bloom.

Why did butterflies become the central focus of the design, and how does it relate to your passion for British butterflies?

Butterflies are iconic and timelessly captivating, especially British butterflies such as Large Whites, Small Tortoiseshells, Common Blues, Holly Blues, Purple Emperors, Peacocks, Clouded Yellows, and Fritillaries, known for their unique markings and colours. They add beauty to our gardens while symbolise a broader story of beauty intertwined with environmental fragility. Sir David Attenborough is a great hero of mine, and as the president of the charity Butterfly Conservation, he has long spoken about the specific importance of Butterflies and Moths. His teachings gave me the idea of making British butterflies the central focus of the collection

Can you explain the craftsmanship behind the hand-painted and hand-embroidered elements of the wallpaper? What makes these techniques special?

The craftsmanship involved in the creation of each panel of this wallpaper is extraordinary. It was delightful to see how the story of my garden has unfolded so beautifully, 'stroke by stroke' and 'stitch by stitch', by Fromental's meticulous atelier of artists. My clients adore these wallpapers because every piece is truly a work of art, painted especially to fit their property, with the most unexpectedly whimsical details. My favourites (apart from the butterflies) have to be the charming little hedgehog peeking out from behind the leaves and the fuzzy bees floating among the petals. The artists have poured great care into ensuring the accuracy and charm of every detail, making each feature equally captivating.

What influenced your decision to offer two colour options for the wallpaper (primrose yellow and a softer light fawn hue), and what atmosphere does each colour create?

Different colours work in different spaces. The lighter colour works well in bedrooms and contemporary spaces, while the richer, warmer colour makes a bolder statement in impactful spaces. Interestingly, I initially felt that the fawn would be more suitable for urban settings and the primrose for the countryside. However, both hues prove to be flattering in any environment or interior style.

The fawn wallpaper in now hung in my master bedroom, creating a serene and peaceful backdrop for a contemporary four-poster bed.

The primrose wallpaper graces my country dining room, making an elegant statement that is equally beautiful in daylight and by candlelight. At nighttime, the soft yellow silk paper is quite extraordinarily beautiful against my antique gilt mirror and collection of blue and white Chinese porcelain. I love it.

Can you share some details about the specific flowers and natural elements featured in the wallpaper?

We spent a great deal of time researching with the Fromental team which flowers should be included in the collection. We included many of my favourites, such as Honeysuckle, Camellia, Lilac, Salvia, Duchess Peonies, Delphiniums, Clematis, Jasmine, Anemones, and Forget-me-nots. The combination of these large and small flowers creates a charming scene, with carefully placed flowers and foliage forming a classically graceful flower border. It evokes the feeling of stumbling upon a secret English garden brimming with beauty and intrigue.

What inspired you to support the British Butterfly Conservation charity through this collaboration, and how will the donations from wallpaper sales make an impact?

This wallpaper collection is deeply personal and a celebration of beauty. However, its underlying purpose extends beyond aesthetics. By donating my fee and with Fromental contributing a significant percentage of the proceeds, we will support the Butterfly Conservation charity. This allows every sale to fund the charity's vital work in recording, educating, and advocating for the conservation of British insect life, while also creating habitats and nature reserves. Their report of 2022 revealed the alarming news that 80% of butterflies in the UK have declined since the 1970s and that of the 58 butterfly species in the UK, 24 species were classified as ‘threatened’, 8 as ‘endangered' and 16 as ‘vulnerable’. 

Through this collaboration, we aim to make a meaningful difference in protecting and nurturing these remarkable creatures that enrich our lives.

In this article:

An English Butterfly Garden

An English Butterfly Garden

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