Wallpaper was created in the 1500s as a practical and cheap substitute for woven tapestries, leather, and wood paneling that had covered the walls of European homes and palaces for hundreds of years.
The earliest wallpaper uncovered, a black and white pinecone and leaf design, dates back to 1509. The date is known because the design was painted on the back of disgarded documents: a poem on the death of King Henry VII (April 21, 1509) and a proclamation on the coronation of King Henry VIII.
For many years, wallpaper continued to be painted on the backs of used paper. Some wallpaper sold in 1568, a design of roses and stripes, was printed on the back of sheet music.
The Chinese began to paint flowers, birds, and scenes on large sheets of rice paper in the 1600s.
As the popularity of wallpaper spread throughout the world during the next hundred years, long rolls of the paper replaced the flat sheets.