MELISSA WHITE

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MELISSA WHITE

DESIGNER AND PAINTER OF DECORATIVE INTERIORS



Melissa hand paints surface pattern for interiors from her studio in Hastings on the Sussex coast. She is a Painter Stainer; a title that refers to a bygone age and aptly reflects the passionate detail that is imbued in her bespoke pieces, from the initial research, design to painting. She draws on diverse and ever changing influences for her designs and is best known for reproducing Elizabethan wall paintings and painted cloths.
Her signature style is to age and distress her paintwork by cracking, washing out and rubbing it back, which distances it from the new and the mass produced, adding as she calls it "the patination of time". Often making her own paints from natural pigments she applies this captivating ageing process to her fresco secco artwork and her painted cloths. For soft furnishings she hand paints textiles using special fabric paints.

Melissa’s painted interiors include a mural spanning two floors in an open-plan home in Notting Hill Gate; three walls of the octagonal Summer House in the gardens of Buckingham Palace; she designed, painted and collaborated with both Zoffany and Lewis & Wood on several wallpaper and fabric collections and completed heritage pieces at prestigious museums including Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Weald & Downland in Chichester.

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Melissa’s introduction to the niche subject of Elizabethan decoration began in 1997 when she became apprenticed to self-trained expert and craftsman David Cutmore. Her degree in Art History (& French) gave her a solid grounding in art theory but it was David who introduced her to this mysterious decorative genre. Melissa acquired the practical skills and techniques of reproducing these beguiling wall paintings when she joined David and his team of artists on a re-display project for Shakespeare's Birthplace Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon. By the re-opening in 2000 they had created floor-to-ceiling replica Elizabethan painted cloths for four rooms which are still seen by hundreds of visitors a day.

Since then Melissa has worked on many Elizabethan projects for museums and period houses, developing a hands-on understanding and appreciation of how our ancestors decorated their homes whilst accumulating a valuable resource of Elizabethan reference material. Her approach to design straddles the historic and the contemporary as she revives and reinvents the past with a thoroughly modern perspective.