de Gournay | Hand-Painted Interiors
This Enchanting New Book Explores the Beauty of de Gournay Wallpaper
“One of the greatest pleasures in life is to create a house, and that, to be truly happy, one must connect to nature and the growing of things,” says Claud Cecil Gurney, founder of de Gournay. It’s a sentiment that perfectly summarizes his company’s ethos. Since its founding in 1984, de Gournay has captivated the interiors world with their hand-painted wallpapers of botanicals, menageries, and other earthly delights. Kate Moss and Gwyneth Paltrow are devotees, as are top interior designers Michael S. Smith, Miles Redd, and Kelly Wearstler. In March 2020, Erdem collaborated on a capsule collection with the brand, and, as its designs are by-and-large custom, de Gournay is frequently called the “haute decor” of wallpaper.
So it’s no surprise that, later this month, Rizzoli is publishing a book to celebrate their exquisite and fanciful panels. Titled de Gournay: Hand-Painted Interiors, it features projects big and small. There’s a monochromatic cityscape mural created for Bergdorf Goodman’s Goodman bar; their L’Eden paper for member’s club Annabel’s in London; and even the under-the-sea themed nursery of Gurney’s grandson, George. What they all have in common, however, is a painstaking attention to detail. “A panel of particularly dense Chinoiserie, brimming with birds and flowers, might take up to 100 hours to complete, with several artists working simultaneously on particular elements,” Gurney says.
Image may contain Animal Fish Pattern Applique Cushion Pillow Graphics Floral Design and Art Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli Although de Gournay occasionally ventures into more contemporary and abstract styles—a design by India Mahdavi in Milan's Chez Nina consists of an geometric black-and-gold pattern, for example—their traditional chinoiserie is the star of the show. The de Gournay studio employs, and only employs, skilled Chinese artisans versed in the centuries-old practice. Each panel goes through a meticulously-controlled journey: silks are dyed, antique finishes are added, metallic papers are gilded, and composed scenes are sketched in soft pencil. “That they are painted by hand gives our wallpapers what the Chinese would call ‘spirit-resonance’: a lasting impression of the artist who painted them,” Gurney adds. Below, enchant your eyes with a wonderful assortment of de Gournay wallpapers—all featured in this ornate Rizzoli opus.