Why do we love to decorate with animal motifs?

(Image Credit: 'Best In Show' by Osborne & Little)

Why do we love to decorate with animal motifs?

Where would design be without animals?

I for one wouldn’t have a thing to draw! We anthropomorphise them & can tame them on our walls. 

Animals in decoration.

Apparently people have noticed I like dogs.  I thought I was being very low key about it but other people think differently.  (Yes, I’m looking at you Lady Editor - with your snarky emails and suggestions about ‘maybe fewer Doggo pictures?’.)

Anyway, my infatuation with my beloved pup aside, I’ve never really considered myself the most massive animal lover in real life.  But I’ve always adored animals in design.  My childhood wallpaper was this glorious ‘Magic Roundabout’ design:

Magic Roundabout

(Image Credit: Pinterest)

And when it came to decorating my new hallway I was completely seduced by this monkey heaven:

Cole & Son Monkey Wallpaper

(Image Credit: Cole & Son)

So why do we want to put animals on our walls? 

From the stately stag’s head on the Downton Abbey wall to the flying ducks over Hilda Ogden’s mantelpiece in Coronation Street there are depictions of wildlife everywhere modern humans live.  Same with ancient humans.  There are cave paintings of bison and wolves and pigs that are 30,000 years old.

Why cave dwellers drew animals is a matter of debate.

Some say they were trying to call in the spirit of the animals, some that they wanted to keep a record of them, and some that they just wanted to express their artistic talent. Most likely it was a bit of all those things. As time went on all civilisations found ways to adore and revere animals:  Egyptians, Romans, Sumerians, Native Americans and Hindus all have animal gods. Even Christianity speaks of the Lamb of God.

Whatever the reason, most of us still feel the pull of our non-human friends and the urge to surround ourselves with their comforting presence

As for me, I think I just love them.  

The other day I counted up the creatures I have in my designs and was faintly astonshed to discover there are at least 22 distinct animals (and only one of them’s a dog, Mrs Sarky-pants so-called Editor!).

And I'm in good company.

Animals are everywhere in interiors & clothing.

The glorious Stella McCartney horse print T-shirt / dress:

Stella McCartney horse print T-shirt / dress

(Image Credit: Stella McCartney)

The wolf is everywhere in interiors design:

Wolf Cushion

(Image Credit: Wolf Cushion)

And let us not forget that close relation of the wolf, the mighty pug! (We love our Pugs not Drugs mug). 

Not to mention the millions who spend the best part of their waking day watching adorable kitten or puppy videos. 

We are seduced by their beautiful forms & the frank honesty of their behaviour. I’ve never met an animal that can lie about how much they like a person or another animal. If they’re feeling it they’re doing it. 

Maybe we’re inspired by the animals we surround ourselves with, both real and decorative, because we aspire to be more like them. Honest, affectionate, fiercely protective, loyal, graceful, funny…What’s not to love?


Victoria x

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