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In Conversation With: Diane Hill

Taylor Howes recently completed a project in which we got artist Diane Hill to commission a bespoke wall mural for our clients reception room. We asked her for some insight into her design journey for this project as well as her career in Chinoiserie style painting.

“I am an artist specialising in Chinoiserie style wallpapers, an art form of the 18th century in which exotic hand-painted wallpapers were exported from the far east to adorn the interiors of high class westerners. I fell in love with this ancient art form during my years studying textile design at university in Manchester, I also found that there were still companies today producing these delicate hand made wallpapers, so got in touch with one of the leading brands in hope for work experience. I was lucky enough to spend a lovely six years working with these wallpapers, a time in which I was taught these traditional techniques by master painters in China. I learnt to use natural brushes and watercolours on paper backed silk, these new materials combined with expert tuition meant I was able to create designs with meticulous attention to detail and very smooth, precise brush strokes. These key elements are what gives my hand-painted wallpapers a very high end luxury feeling.

I was commissioned by the Taylor Howes design studio to create a bespoke wall mural, the brief was not to be over powering, but soft, serene and delicate, picking up on the gorgeous blue and bronze tones within the soft furnishings. Myself and the design team met to pin down a colour scheme and to discuss the placement of the design in the room. The client wanted a beautiful cherry blossom tree cascading down from the ceiling, this was to sit as a backdrop to the dining area, so we designed the pattern to work around the dining table which would be placed in front of the wall.

I looked for inspiration in one of my favourite art history books ‘The great Japan exhibition’ Art of the Edo period 1600-1868 and found a beautiful silk kosode (kimono) by Sakai Hoitsu. The branches and flowers made the perfect source of inspiration for this project.

The entire room was to be covered in a natural silk wall covering, which I would then paint directly onto in situ in the final few days prior to the big furniture install. To ensure the colours were what the client wanted, I created a painted sample onto a small piece of the wall covering, piecing together all the colours and inspiration ideas as we had discussed, this was then sent for approval alongside a hand drawn full scale design showing the placement of each branch.

Each blossom was painted using a traditional method called ‘the unconscious style’ whereby each petal is painted using one brushstroke for a very natural result. The brush is loaded with a light and dark tone to create a beautifully shaded petal in only one stroke. I then added tiny details in gold paint using an extremely fine natural brush.

This was a fabulous project to be involved in and the Taylor Howes team are amazing to work with, the process was very straightforward from start to finish and very well planned, resulting in a beautiful interior scheme for the end client.”

To found out more about Diane Hill click here.