Gothic Revival wallpaper discovered

May is Heritage Month in Tasmania and the 2016 theme of “Discovery and Rediscoveries” fit very well with the CRVHS project to recreate 1840s wallpaper uncovered at Oak Lodge.

gothic revival wallpaper by Alan Townsend at Oak Lodge Richmond

Extraordinary 1840s Gothic Revival wallpaper, discovered and re-created by Alan Townsend at Oak Lodge, Richmond

Oak Lodge at 18 Bridge St, Richmond opened between 11.30am and 3.00pm each day during May 2016 so that visitors could witness this extraordinary wallpaper being rehung in its original location.

Alan Townsend, assisted by Karen Stott and Linda Clarke, discovered that when the original internal meter box was removed in the 1990s the resulting hole was simply covered over and painted, leaving a substantial section of wallpaper underneath the paint.

With much searching and peeling back nine more recent layers of wallpaper, further fragments of the pattern were discovered. Alan then reconstructed the full Gothic splendour of the pattern from these small fragments.

Alan was on site on Saturdays and Sundays throughout May 2016 recreating the hall as it was in the 1840s.

After months of painstaking work, the 1840s pattern was reconstructed and hand printed in its original colours.

A display also showcased Alan’s wallpaper discoveries from Oak Lodge and a number of Tasmanian colonial buildings.

A team of CRVHS volunteers supported the project, helping with scaffolding, painting and fresh shellac on the original skirting boards.


New wallpaper on the left next to fragments of the original 1840s wallpaper discovered behind the old meter box upstairs at Oak Lodge in 2014.


Alan rediscovered, recreated and hung the wallpaper in the hallway at Oak Lodge (May 2016)

Clarence Mayor, Doug Chipman, on the stairs at Oak Lodge at a celebration to mark the wallpaper project, with Lois Green and Alan Townsend (Oct 2016)