Behind the famous design house

You may have spotted from Gournay exquisite hand-painted wallpapers all over your Instagram feed, each interior perfectly combiningThe beauty of craftsmanship and the power of color.

Synonymous with luxury and one of today’s most prestigious and influential design houses, de Gournay wallpapers are, quite simply, works of art.

It was founded by Claud Cecil Gurney in 1986 after searching for craftsmen in China capable of restoring old wallpapers using ancient techniques. The family business (de Gournay is the French spelling of the surname) continues to dress the walls with vivid reimaginings of centuries-old settings and landscapes, seeking inspiration from all corners of the globe.

Having started in London, de Gournay can now be found in Paris, New York, Moscow, Shanghai, San Francisco and Beirut.

“We believe our wallpapers bring interiors to life. They literally transform the whole space, set the mood and add comfort to the room,” says Hannah Cecil Gurney, director of de Gournay. Beautiful home UK.

Although best known for wallpaper, de Gournay also produced fabrics such as organza, duchess satin and Faille, as well as handcrafting and decorating porcelain to the same impeccable standard.

Hand painted wallpaper from Gournay, ‘Earlham’ pattern. Interior of Joanna Plant | Poppy Delevingne’s bathroom

de Gournay / Photography by Simon Upton

How is Gournay wallpaper made?

The wallcoverings are made of traditional and mostly natural materials, with each paper design made by a team of six or more artists. A library of designer prints is available to choose from, in addition to a bespoke service that turns a client’s vision into reality. There is an option to embellish and upholster, with hand embroidery details such as fruit, feathers and flowers using individually sewn beads. It is an example of a “haute couture” interior that can be enjoyed for years.

The craftsmanship and attention to detail allow customers to have a decorative piece of art from a bygone era to a modern day that stands apart from machine-made replica prints.

gournay hand painted wallpaper
Hand painted wallpaper from Gournay, ‘Botanical Studies’. Designed by Michael S. Smith | Organized by Edward Hurst

de Gournay / Photograph by Miguel Flores Vianna

“Many of our collections are inspired by the work of famous artists or some of the most beautiful places in the world,” says Hannah. “Our craftsmen spend a lot of time creating each order, up to 90 hours to paint a panoramic panel, so no two sets of wallpaper are the same as we customize to project dimensions. It’s amazing for the customer to realize that the wallpaper has been produced and hand painted specifically for their space and that no other order will be identical.

The most popular Gournay collections

With the range of collections available, de Gournay’s most popular designs are its vibrant and whimsical Chinese, Japanese and Korean collections, as well as the Panoramic Wallpapers.

the Chinoiserie Collection, based on historic wallpapers from major European homes of the 17th and 18th centuries, is inspired by original Chinese wallcoverings. The elegant and graceful designs – garden scenes filled with birds and flowers – work in a multitude of different interiors.

gournay hand painted wallpaper
Hand painted wallpaper from Gournay, ‘Nordic Garden’ design. Designed by Michael S. Smith | Organized by Amanda Brookes

de Gournay / Photograph by Miguel Flores Vianna

the Japanese and Korean collectionoften representing the natural world and characterized by its more contemporary look with elegant designs of Korean peonies, silk trees, swimming fish and flowering wisteria, draws inspiration from Japan’s 200-year-old Edo period .

Elsewhere Scenic Collection,Panoramic Wallpapers refers to the mass-printed panoramic wallpapers developed in France in the early part of the 19and century. Patterns depict enchanting world scenes with choices of gold-rich gilt paper, scenic paper, or antique scenic Xuan paper.

gournay hand painted wallpaper
Hand painted wallpaper from Gournay, ‘English Landscape’ pattern. Interior by Mary McDonald

de Gournay / Photography by Douglas Friedman

Other popular collections include the more abstract Eclectic Collectionwhich mixes floral motifs with bolder landscapes, and the Diaghilev Collection which is inspired by 20and The Ballets Russes of the Century and its influence in the Art Deco era, illustrating de Gournay’s embroidery, gilding techniques and painting styles.


As a company, de Gournay stays true to its design ethos while collaborating with a variety of designers and creatives – most famously with the fashion house Erdemresulting in a beautiful botanical display of hydrangeas, irises and chrysanthemums alongside sparrows, rendered on Xuan rice and tissue paper, renowned for its soft texture and suitable for Chinese calligraphy.

In 2017, de Gournay collaborated with model Kate Moss to design floral wallpaper, Anemones in Light, which changes with different times of day.

Interiors to cherish

gournay hand painted wallpaper
De Gournay Hand Painted Wallpaper, ‘Symphony’ Pattern

from Gournay

As with hanging any painted work, de Gournay’s wallcoverings must be treated with delicacy considering how intricately each order is carried out from start to finish. Caring for a piece of Gournay artwork requires expert installation and museum-grade acid-free paper for the coating to last permanently.

There are three ways to order de Gournay: Ready to wear otherwise known as ready to buy; Custom made allowing customization of designs and colors; and dream worksoffering a completely bespoke design typically delivered within three to six months.

How much do Gournay wallpapers cost?

gournay hand painted wallpaper
Hand painted wallpaper by Gournay, ‘Magnolia Canopy’ design

de Gournay / Photography by Rebecca Reid


de Gournay: Art on the walls: hand-painted interiors

Rizzoli International Publications


“Each order is estimated based on the dimensions of the walls, the space, and the type of wallpaper a customer chooses,” says Hannah. “We have various collections and backgrounds as well as additional services such as hand embroidery, which has become very popular despite its relatively high cost, or waterproof glazing, which is particularly useful for bathrooms. In the UK, pricing starts from £700 for a standard chinoiserie panel and increases with the complexity of an order.

Whether design inspiration was sought from an original tiled mural of the Palacio dos Marqueses de Fronteriera in Lisbon or a Svindersvik, a rococo mansion outside Stockholm, each Gournay wallpaper is a piece of history that was interpreted in a unique way.

Blending tradition and modernity, de Gournay’s dedication to creating stunning, beautiful wall art by extremely talented craftsmen helps to create a truly perfect interior.

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