An English Butterfly Garden

Delicate and enchanting, Katharine Pooley has unveiled her latest wallpaper collection, ‘An English Butterfly Garden.’ In support of Butterfly Conservation and in collaboration with Fromental, the range was inspired by the captivating beauty of her flower-filled gardens nestled in the heart of the English countryside. This hand-painted and hand-embroidered wallcovering celebrates a harmonious landscape, adorned with abundant butterflies, flowers, and other natural elements. Each panel tells its own unique story, transporting you to a realm of ethereal charm.

To mark the unveiling of ‘An English Butterfly Garden’, esteemed friends, clients, and press gathered for a sunlit affair, relishing a delectable three-course lunch one a long table bedecked with delphiniums and roses, placed under six crystal chandeliers suspended from foliage wrapped arches. Amidst the celebration, Tim Butcher regaled us with tales of the passionate commitment of ‘The Master Painter’ at Fromental, who ardently embraced the project and insisted on executing the meticulous painted work single-handedly.

Drawing from the rich heritage of Chinoiserie design, the wallpaper collection presents a contemporary interpretation, exuding originality and captivation. The intricate detailing is very much at home in my charming Georgian home in Oxfordshire, The Coach House, surrounded by my beautiful gardens.

A chandelier hanging over a luxurious outdoor table setting

We were proud to have an incredible team join us in crafting this extraordinary event. Caroline Foster Brown played a pivotal role in orchestrating the entire day, seamlessly weaving together all the elements to create a harmonious experience for our guests. Last Supper surpassed all expectations, treating our attendees to a feast that was both visually stunning and tantalizingly delicious. Fen and Segun, the brilliant minds behind the scenes at Monannie, created otherworldly cakes that were a true testament to their unmatched skill and creativity.

The venue was brought to life with the enchanting beauty of Neill Strain‘s floral arrangements and to complete the ambiance Tobi Tobi graced us with their mesmerising melodies, providing a soundtrack that perfectly complemented the romantic mood of the event. Guests were also presented with exquisite personalised Anya Hindmarch basket bags.

The waiters from Last Supper
People cheers in the sun with rhubarb sours, the drinks are garnished with blue paper butterflies

Collaborating with these talented individuals was a delight and their contributions were nothing short of remarkable.  I cannot overstate how much pleasure and peace my garden in the English countryside gives to me. It is literally my ‘happy space’ and when I am not travelling the world for our wonderful clients and projects it’s where you will find me. I find the flowers, trees and wildlife infinitely relaxing and inspiring, the beauty of the natural world inspires many aspects of our work.  I was therefore immediately drawn to the idea of creating a wallpaper collection that was based on the flowers in my garden, and the beautiful  layers of interwoven shapes of  and textures of the blooms and leaves in the classic English flower borders that I love so much. We decided to create  a new, contemporary interpretation of a traditional hand-painted and hand embroidered Chinoiserie silk wallpaper celebrating the charm of a quintessential English garden in full bloom.

A butterfly in'An English Butterfly Garden' event by Katharine Pooley in support of Butterfly Conservation

Dr. Richard Fox, an advocate for wildlife conservation and Head of Science at Butterfly Conservation, underscored the significance of these creatures, stating:

“Climate change and biodiversity loss pose immense challenges, pushing many aspects of the natural world to the brink of extinction, including our cherished species. A concerning decline is observed in the majority of butterfly populations. These beautiful and fascinating creatures not only hold intrinsic value but also serve as indicators of a healthy environment for all wildlife.”

Throughout the event, guests were immersed in the inspiring beauty and wildlife that is found in the English countryside. Butterflies flit in between guests as courses were served and drinks were poured. Bees buzzed overhead, the bleating of lambs provided an authentic undertone to each speech and my ducks were on their best behaviour roaming in the garden close by.

A wheelbarrow of flowers in an english garden in the sun

British butterflies and their alarming decline are a personal cause close to my heart. Having actively participated in Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count over the past years, I have witnessed the distressing depletion of numerous native British species. Under the presidency of Sir David Attenborough since 1998, Butterfly Conservation benefits from the expertise of leading scientists. Their 2022 report revealed the disquieting news that 80% of UK butterfly species have experienced a decline since the 1970s. Among the 58 butterfly species in the UK, 24 are classified as ‘threatened,’ eight as ‘endangered,’ and 16 as ‘vulnerable.’

With every piece sold, a donation will be made to support Butterfly Conservation, the charity which works to protect and conserve British butterflies, moths and their habitats.

The Primrose Yellow colourway of the Fromental collaboration, styled in a dining room
The Fawn colourway of the Fromental collaboration, styled in a dining room

A contemporary interpretation of the traditional Chinoiserie style, the wallpaper has an original and captivating look, with different scales of flowers and foliage carefully placed to create a classically graceful flower border. It has been meticulously painted by Fromental’s artists on silk paper panels to reflect the charming detail of the gardens that surround my Georgian home in Oxfordshire.

We worked closely with the Fromental design team over several months to create a design that is both quintessentially English and very personal. The wallpaper features many of my favourite flowers including Honeysuckle, Camellia, Lilac, Salvia, Duchess Peonies, Delphiniums, Clematis, Jasmine, Anemones and Forget-me-nots, and has been created in two colourways, Primrose Yellow and a softer Light Fawn hue.

The extraordinary craftsmanship that goes into the painting and embroidery of each panel of this wallpaper is wonderful, I have been delighted to see how the story of my garden has unfolded so beautifully, ‘stoke by stroke’ and ‘stitch by stitch’, by Fromental’s world-leading, meticulous,  atelier of artists. My clients adore these wallpapers because every piece is truly a work of art, painted especially to fit their property and with the most delightful and unexpectedly whimsical details. My favourites (apart from the butterflies) have to be the darling little hedgehog, peeking out from behind some leaves, and the fuzzy bees who float amongst the petals. I love every detail, so much care has been taken by the artists so that every feature is accurate and charming in equal measure.

Anya Hindmarsh Goody bags as prepared by katharine pooley for her'an english summer garden event'

As a token of appreciation, each guest departed with a thoughtfully curated gift, presented in the exquisite Anya Hindmarch bags. The gifts included a plethora of beautiful goodies including items from the wonderful Olivanna skincare range and Jo Malone scent collection.

This wallpaper is a celebration of beauty, and has been a very personal project for me, but fundamentally it is about something much bigger:  British butterflies, and their decline. This wallpaper collection is a wonderful chance to spotlight and support the work of Butterfly Conservation and really make a difference in protecting and encouraging these beautiful creatures we are so lucky to enjoy in our lives.

Some of the team of staff from katharine pooley london

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