I want to return the compliment by showing the panoramic Zuber wallpaper at Basildon Park. But apart from featuring a camel it is also emblematic of Regency exoticism.
Zuber wallpapers began to be produced in 1797. This particular design, called L’Hindoustan, was created by Pierre Mongin in 1807.
Mongin had never been to India, and his idealised, dreamy scenes were based on the Indian views of Thomas and William Daniell.
The Daniells had seen these views at first hand, but their images are still heavily influenced by the English picturesque and Romantic traditions, with lots of dramatic clouds, crumbling masonry, and artfully placed trees and figures.
The Zuber wallpaper and the Daniell views were installed at Basildon by Lord and Lady Iliffe after the Second World War. In their restoration and decoration of the empty and derelict house the Iliffes were trying to evoke the spirit of Sir Francis Sykes, a ‘nabob’ who had made his fortune in India and who began building Basildon in 1776.
So here we have three different imaginations at work – Mongin, the Daniells and the Iliffes – recreating the exotic on the banks of the Thames.