Deborah Bowness: walls, paper and inspiration


Deborah Bowness, artist, designer and maker grew up in Yorkshire and has been designing, making and exhibiting wallpaper since 1999. Today she lives and works in St Leonards-on-Sea, on the South Coast of England. Here Deborah has set up a print room, printing wallpapers and dispatching them to clients across the world.


Graduating from Leeds College of Art & Design in 1997 with a BA(Hons) in surface pattern and textile design, Deborah went on to the Royal College of Art in 1999, where she obtained an MA(rca) in constructed textiles. It was at the RCA where Deborah began to challenge preconceived notions of wallpaper and wallpapering. By giving her art  everyday use she introduced a new and different perspective on the material.


Deborah has produced an extensive range of individual, non-repeat wallpaper designs. These began with her graduation installation of  ‘Hooks & Frocks’ which incorporates photographs of hanging dresses, montaged together and then machine printed at life-size onto drops of wallpaper. The monochrome images are brought to life by adding silkscreened colour and hand painted detail, creating a homage to trompe l’oeil and deliberately shunning the repeat pattern. Deborah’s intention is for her work to interact quietly and playfully with objects and furniture, but not dominate the surrounding environment.


Bowness wallpapers have made a place in history. Acknowledging their innovation and unique design style, these institutions hold examples of work in their print collections:

Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Leeds Museums & Galleries Collection, Yorkshire
Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris


Many publications have featured Bowness wallpapers including :

‘The Papered Wall’ by Lesley Hoskins
‘Wallpaper History Review’ by Christine Woods
‘Walls are Talking’ by Gill Saunders
‘Design: The Whole Story’ by Elizabeth Wilhide


Bowness wallpapers have received a number of awards including:

Homes & Gardens Design Award for Surface Design
ICFF Editors Awards for Best Wallcoverings
Peugeot Design Award

Commissions and collaborations

Deborah welcomes the challenge and inspiration gained through working collaboratively, and has been commissioned by a wide variety of clients including:

The De La Warr Pavilion
Paul Smith