Melissa White

2007 QEST Scholar - Decorative Arts
East Sussex

Taking an unconventional route to interior decoration, Melissa set off by researching and reproducing Elizabethan wall paintings. These bold, floor-to-ceiling designs covered the walls of Tudor homes and were painted by craftsmen known as “painter stainers”. Her 2007 QEST Scholarship allowed her to develop her practice as she continued recreating these rare and beguiling designs for museums, including Shakespeare’s Birthplace Museum, and many historic houses. Ultimately this tradition of vernacular folk painting has informed her own visual style and the distinctive, whimsical designs for which she is now recognised within the interior design community.

Melissa works mostly to commission with interior designers, architects and private clients. She has created widely available fabrics and wallpapers for Zoffany, Lewes and Wood, Kit Kemp and Andrew Martin and bespoke murals for Buckingham Palace, Fortnum and Mason and Diageo. Her artwork has been woven into decorative schemes across the world from high-end settings like Bergdorf Goodman and Firmdale Hotels to private residential projects. Upcoming collaborations will see her designs appear on tiles, ceramics, knitwear and table linens as Melissa continues to evolve her style.

My signature style is to capture a historic, artisanal and painterly feel that has its roots in the wall paintings of old. My paintwork is often aged and distressed to distance it from the new and mass produced, adding what I call “the patination of time”.


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