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A brush with time

Latest & Greatest our heritage

Founded by two paint pioneers John Farrow and Richard Ball, we have been infusing homes with unmatched colour since 1946. Still made in Dorset, England, our home since we began, our distinctive and inspiring paint colours and finishes are renowned for their depth and complexity, bringing walls around the world to life.

From supplying the Admiralty and War Office to developing a range of paints for the National Trust, we’ve been on quite a journey that has shaped the way we do things today by drawing from our experiences of yesterday.

When supplying paint to the War Office, the company bucked the trend towards cheaper, acrylic paints with high levels of plastic, in favour of the original formulations and natural ingredients that had fared so well. We did the same in 2010 when we moved the entire range of paints from oil based to water based finishes with low or minimal VOC content. This move affirmed our ongoing commitment towards helping the environment we live in and draw inspiration from.

1940s – 1960s

1946 – Founded by John Farrow & Richard Ball, an industrial chemist and an engineer. The two met when they both worked at a local clay pit and later went on to build their first factory in Verwood, Dorset.

1950s – By the early 1950s we had won some important contracts from supplying the paint for Ford Motor Cards in Dagenham and Liverpool, to Raleigh bikes, the Admiralty and the war Office.

1960s – As the 1960s were in full swing, the company grew and the original founders eventually made the decision to sell the business to Bakers, which was run by Normal Chappell, who lends his name to Chappell Green!

1970s – 1980s

Following an unfortunate fire, Farrow & Ball moved from Verwood to our current site in Wimborne. During the 70s and 80s we ignored the trend for using more plastic and less pigment, and instead stuck to our traditional production methods using original formulations and natural ingredients.

1990s – 2000

This era saw the beginning of our partnership with the National Trust and we developed a range of paints, working closely with historical buildings and helping to restore them with colours sympathetic to their era. Although we no longer make paints for the National Trust, we do sponsor beautiful locations around the world such as Musée Rodin, Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art.

1994 – We appointed our first independent stockist.

1995 – We began to manufacture our artisanal wallpapers, using responsibly sourced paper and our own paints, rather than inks, to create our uniquely tactile and textured designs.

1996 – Our first flagship showroom opened on the Fulham Road in Chelsea.

1999 – The year that saw the opening of our very first overseas showroom in Toronto.

2000 - 2010

2000 – Through this decade our showroom presence grew throughout the world with our first European showroom opened its doors in Paris St Germain.

2002 – New York became the home of our first US showroom and within five years we had a total of 12 showrooms throughout the UK, North America and Europe.

2005 – Our established and popular wallpapers continued to grow in popularity with ‘The Vermicelli Papers’ voted best new wallpaper collection in the UK at the UK House Beautiful Awards.

2006 – Listed in as one of the USA’s 30 most influential home brands over the last 30 years in the respected ‘Robb Report’.

2010 – One of our collections ‘The Chelsea Papers’ won a Gold Award at the UK House Beautiful Awards.

2010 - TODAY

During this period we launched our durable interior paint finish, Modern Emulsion, perfect for high traffic areas, and moved from oil based paints, to water based.

2010 – Embracing the online world we launched our Facebook page this year, quickly followed by Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

2011 – One of our new colours released this year, Charlotte’s Locks, went on to win Best Paint in the prestigious Wallpaper* magazine awards. This was the year we also opened our first German showroom in picturesque Frankfurt.

2013 – We relaunched our artisanal wallpaper collections into a thoughtfully edited collection of 320 wallpaper designs. We also launched our Inspiration Site, a dedicated space where customers, interior designers and painters and decorators alike, can all share images of their Farrow & Ball decorating projects, and get inspiration from homes around the world.

Today – We distribute our unmatched paints and artisanal wallpapers to over 67 countries worldwide, with over 50 of our own showrooms in the UK, EU and North America and over 1,500 independent retailers supporting the brand.

The huge successes of our nine new colours launched in February and now our new collection of 1940s wallpapers, mean that 2016 has been a very exciting year for Farrow & Ball, and we look forward to helping you with your decorating projects for years to come.