Why are floral/leaf motifs so important, dominant or recurring in this artist’s work?

Zoffany was founded in 1983 for the meticulous restoration of historic wallpapers from mere fragments for Temple Newsam House in Yorkshire (John Sandoe Books, 2017). The company has gone on to collect an archive of 17th and 18th century designs which now inform not only wallpaper, but fabric, trimmings and interior design ranges (Design Line Interiors).

Botanical patterns call on tradition and the British love of gardening. From the stylelibrary.com (nd b) website BLOG, of which Zoffany is a part, the exhortations are:
* “Florals are an integral part of interior and fashion trends”
* “Versatile and easy to use, floral designs can be tailored to suit all interiors”
* “Go bright and bold with vintage designs to create a floral statement or introduce delicate florals in light and fresh colour palettes for a more modern feel.”

I’ve chosen some of my favourite designs to record here. The Arlecchino uses realistic rendering in embroidery; while, the Kalamkari uses stylised flowers and leaves in the Indian tradition, one of my favourite types of designs (judging from my quilting fabric collection of Indienne-type fabrics). Nostell Priory, derived from the Chinese floral tradition calls out to be hung in my office.

Arlecchino, Multi/White Colourway

This is a sumptuous embroidered fabric from the Frangipani collection. “Arlecchino illustrates a fantasy vine with an array of leaves growing from one stem. Bunches of berries sit amongst the colourful leaves each embroidered with incredible detail to illustrate the vibrant patterning found in nature” (stylelibrary.com, nd a).

Nostell Priory, Sky/Pink colourway,
from Woodville Papers collection.

“This delightful wallpaper is based on a Chinese painted wallcovering hanging in Nostell Priory and originally appeared in Zoffanys National Trust II collection. Popular amongst the aristocracy in the late 18th century, this form of decoration now looks beautiful in contemporary and classic settings.” (stylelibrary.com, nd e ).

Zoffany Kalamkari, Indigo/Red Colourway

The Jaipur collection “plays on and updates a strong tradition of using Indian and Persian designs in the decoration of English Country House interiors” (stylelibrary.com, nd c ) with “large-scale, romantically depicted flowers, buds and leaves spring forth from a trailing branch” (stylelibrary.com, nd d).

I like the patterning and formality of the Indienne inspired designs.


Design Line Interiors (nd). Zoffany,
Viewed: http://www.designlineinteriors.co.uk/zoffany.html, 23 May 2020.

John Sandoe Books (2017) ‘Wallpapers at Temple Newsam: 1635 to the Present’ advertising
Wells-Cole, A., Walker, B. (2017) “Wallpapers at Temple Newsam: 1635 to the Present”,
Leeds Art Fund
Viewed: https://johnsandoe.com/product/wallpapers-at-temple-newsam-1635-to-the-present/, 23 May 2020.

Style Library (nd a) Arlecchino,
Viewed: https://www.stylelibrary.com/shop/fabric/frangipani/arlecchino?code=ZFRU330006, 22 May 2020

Style Library (nd b) Fresh Florals, Green Plants in ‘The Edit’ BLOG,
Viewed: https://www.stylelibrary.com/inspire/the-edit/fresh-florals-green-plants/, 22 May 2020.

Style Library (nd c) Jaipur,
Viewed: https://www.stylelibrary.com/shop/fabric/jaipur-prints/, 22 May 2020

Style Library (nd d) Kalamkari,
Viewed: https://www.stylelibrary.com/shop/fabric/jaipur-prints/kalamkari?code=ZJAI321696, 22 May 2020

Style Library (nd e). Nostell Priory,
Viewed: https://www.stylelibrary.com/shop/wallpaper/woodville-papers/nostell-priory?code=ZWOO311421, 11 June 2020

Walker Greenbank (nd). Zoffany – Luxurious design, artfully crafted to the highest standards,
Viewed: https://www.walkergreenbank.com/our-brands/style-library/zoffany/, 22 May 2020.

The name Zoffany originates from Johann Zoffany, a “German-born portrait painter who in late 18th-century England made his reputation with paintings depicting episodes from contemporary theatre and with portraits and conversation pieces” (Encylopaedia Brittanica, 2019), whom recorded in great detail interiors of the time, and also painted wallpaper on commission.

I cannot establish at this time whether one of the restored wallpapers was originally painted by Johann Zoffany, and thus lent the company its name.

Encylopaedia Brittanica (2019). John Zoffany,
Viewed: https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Zoffany, 22 May 2020.