Water Garden Panel by Rachel Spelling

QEST SCholar, Rachel Spelling, paintS a picture of serenity and peace

Featuring in our SS22 collection, Water Garden by Rachel Spelling is a hand painted scene that oozes dream-like charm.

Chosen as the 2020 QEST (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) Sanderson Design Co. Scholar, Rachel’s elegant and contemporary wallpaper panel has been crafted exclusively for Sanderson Water Garden. Inspired by nature’s peaceful pleasures, in contrast to the chaos of London during lockdown, it draws on joyous springtime buds, early butterflies, and a quiet sense of space.

Rachel explains, “I first visited the Sanderson archive when I was in the middle of my QEST training. Nestled deep amongst the abundance of beautiful English florals, the imported Japanese wallpapers and extraordinary Japanese drawing guides caught my eye. Brought back by Arthur Sanderson for his team of artists, these fragile 19th century Japanese woodblock print books detailed how to draw from the natural world, with separate chapters for sea creatures, flowers, birds, mountains and landscapes

“With my new found inspiration, I shifted my attention from Chinoiserie (my original plan) to Japanese screens. They’re so very different to the dense and detailed Chinese papers, with an elegance, simplicity and space that really appealed to me. I decided to paint a mural wallpaper that incorporated iconic elements from the Sanderson visual lexicon - swallows, carp and trailing laburnum.”

Using a refined and harmonious palette of gently layered pinks, blues and yellows, Rachel’s muted scheme reveals a tranquil horizon that reaches from water to sky. A painted casein distemper ground, breathable and chalky, forms an ethereal backdrop to trailing golden laburnum clusters. Teeming with the promise of new life, and painted in a way that fuses Chinese techniques with Japanese influences and western style, Water Garden shares an all-encompassing narrative of freedom and self-expression.

Rachel continues, “I painted a floor to ceiling scene, where water fades into sky and then up to foliage. I was focussed on bringing in a really strong sense of calm and serenity, by using empty space and the softest of colour palettes. The twists and turns of the leaves, the fish and birds lead the eye around with a kind of slow melodic rhythm. I’m interested in the atmosphere a wallpaper can bring to a space and by creating a harmonious composition, I wanted to conjure the quiet, joyful feel of early spring, with its gentle breeze and soft sunlight.”

This decorative feature wall creates an immersive experience and lends itself beautifully to bedrooms, bathrooms and living spaces, where a relaxed aesthetic is required. Perfect for all four walls, pair with floaty, lighter silks and linens that pick up the design’s subtle and complementary tones. Add decorative furniture with scalloped edges in neutral shades, and accent with our gorgeous Penjing embroidery.

QEST supports the vital skills in traditional and contemporary crafts and contributes to excellence in the British craft industry.



Available in one colourway: Soft Jade/Pink Blossom


posted on 01 Apr 2022 in Interiors

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