A taste of the Far East caused plenty of interest at Whitchurch auctioneers Trevanion and Dean's latest event.

Rolls of unused Chinese fabric, while not something that would create high interest, had miraculously survived intact and unused from the late 1700’s.

After a bidding battle between a London-based collector and a National Institution, the rolls were finally secured by the latter for £1,100, ensuring that they will be enjoyed and preserved for the nation and generations to come.

"Chinese wallpapers and fabrics appeared for sale in London in the late 17th century," said Rebecca Gilman, Trevanion and Dean's textiles cataloguer.

"These hand painted papers and silk and the Chinoiserie decorative styles they inspired, sparked a fashion that lasted more than a century.

"Most of the great houses of Europe had at least one room decorated in the Chinoiserie style; if you’ve ever visited Brighton Pavillion you will have seen it in abundance.

"By the end of the 18th century they were to be found in most modest sized houses too, such as at the National Trust property Erddig, just outside Wrexham, where you can see stunning Chinese bed hangings and wallpapers in the state bedroom which were bought by John Meller in 1720.

"The popularity of these Chinese silks was part of a wider 'Sinomania' – a fashion for all things Chinese. The appetite for oriental exotica was fed by the import of Chinese decorative goods and written accounts at the time that presented China as a sophisticated model society to rival Greece or Rome.

"The enthusiasm for the Chinoiserie style was reflected in its widespread use in 18th-century decoration. There was a playfulness and informality in the style that made them popular decorations for bedrooms and apartments, especially those used by women."

Rebecca added that enthusiasm for Chinese style was not universal and considered for the 'nouveaux riches', and also that it threatened the livelihoods of English textile makers.

But she added: "From our perspective it is quite wonderful the material panels we have here were never used, as it means that we see the colours as they were supposed to be rather than the muted, sun faded colours that we so often see now.

"The colours are still so bright and so vibrant, exactly as they were intended to be seen over three hundred years ago."