Cole & Son
Cole & Son, as it is known today, was established in 1938 but its origins can be dated back to the 19th century. The original wallpaper factory was founded in 1875 by John Perry, son of a Cambridgeshire merchant in Islington, north London, an area famous for the 200 mills and hand-block printing companies based there in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Over the course of the next 50 years, John Perry acquired many of the old pear printing woodblocks – a technique used to create wallpaper – from neighbouring firms which had closed down, in time becoming the owner of one of the largest archives of traditional woodblocks in Europe. The Cole & Son block archive includes designs produced by J C Crace & Son which furnished many stately homes, palaces, castles and theatres throughout Britain and overseas, and famously includes the wallpaper designs of A W Pugin for the Palace of Westminster. By 1941 Cole & Son had become the custodians of the most significant collection of wooden printing blocks in Britain – a collection that is still faithfully maintained today.
The archive currently consists of approximately 1,800 block print designs, 350 screen print designs and a huge quantity of original drawings and wallpapers, representing all the styles from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Amongst these are some of the most important historic wallpaper designs in the world.
The Cole & Son Bespoke Service offers the chance to create a personal and unique wallpaper, and is suitable for those who wish to have their favourite current design in a particular colour, or those who want to delve into the formidable Cole & Son archive to produce a faithful reproduction of a historic design.
The recent Archive Anthology collection brings together a selection of Cole & Son’s most treasured historic designs, carefully selected from the magnificent archive, adapted by the Design Studio and printed by craftsmen to produce wallpapers true to the character of the original document, yet contemporary in feel.
Cole & Son continues to produce innovative and beautiful original designs; the current collections include collaborations with some of the world’s most inventive and influential brands, including Fornasetti and the Historic Royal Palaces, as well as new collections which reflect both Cole & Son’s long and distinguished history as well as a continuing passion for imaginative and exciting wallpapers.