We so enjoyed working with illustrator, Josie Shenoy, on our Be Good pattern for Universal (read more here) that we knew she'd be the perfect artist for our Cities wallpaper series as well. Being London-based, we could think of no one more talented or qualified to capture the essence and charm of one of our favorite cities. Keep reading to learn more about Josie's inspiration for London Town and how this pattern came to be.
How long have you lived in London? What do you like most about living there?
After ten years in London, I now live and work in the Hertfordshire countryside (about 45 minutes away from London on the train). Over the years, I lived in Harrow, Greenwich, Balham and lastly, Crystal Palace.
One of my favorite parts about living in Crystal Palace was having the famous park on my doorstep. I used to love my daily walk through parkland, forests and lakes, bursting with animals and plants. It even has a maze, Victorian dinosaur sculptures and a music stage, with bright green parakeets flying above the park!
I loved how easy it was to get from this mini paradise and into the hustle and bustle of the city. London has such a magical atmosphere which I think stems from the abundance of historical architecture and landmarks which are steeped in history. I could spend hours walking around the city and taking it all in.
What inspired you to create the London pattern? What does it mean to you?
I’ve had this pattern in my mind for many years. I wanted to create a pattern which includes all the London showstopper landmarks that I had walked past so often - Big Ben, The Shard, London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin, Tower Bridge, plus all the little curiosities which have become synonymous with the city - including the King’s guards and horses, buses, black taxis, red telephone boxes, foxes, Victorian lamp posts, Tudor roses, umbrellas, and of course, Trafalgar Square pigeons!
One day I had the idea to use raindrops to fill the pattern gaps, which I hope adds an element of playfulness and texture.
At the heart was the desire to create a really decorative and timeless Arts & Crafts-inspired pattern - a far cry away from the bright red souvenirs you find on every street corner here. This pattern means a great deal to me, not only because I love my home city dearly, but because my great-grandmother designed wallpaper for William Morris. The Morris repeat patterns were a huge inspiration when creating this design. I hope the pattern tells the story of the city, so that each time you look, you see something new.
How would you spend a perfect weekend day in London?
It would begin with a trip to one of my favorite museums - maybe the Natural History Museum or V&A. I’ve visited both so many times over the years, but they never fail to inspire. Then a quick tube ride to an Everyman cinema to catch a film, followed by lunch at Dishoom or Borough Market for Bread Ahead doughnuts.
A stroll through St James's Park past the pelicans, and over to Soho, which is probably my favorite spot in London. An afternoon pint at the Crown & Two Chairmen pub to watch the world go by - and escape the inevitable rain!
We’d admire the beautiful Mayfair architecture and explore the cobbled side streets before heading into Liberty London to rifle through the magnificent Arts and Crafts fabric collections, and then to House of Minalima - a very special gallery with art inspired by Harry Potter! Dinner at one of my favorite spots - perhaps Andrew Edmunds for seasonal British food, or BaoziInn for dan dan noodles. We’d end the evening with a cocktail at the Blind Pig, a hidden cocktail bar disguised as an opticians, and some late night comedy at Soho Theatre. Maybe I’d need the whole weekend!