Ancient techniques, inspiration and innovation
Our textile collections represent some of Britain's most outstanding names in the modern crafts movement. Noted for a commitment to reviving ancient techniques in the production of handcrafted textiles, combined with an innovative approach to their making, this 20th century movement was led by such figures as Barron and Larcher in print and Ethel Mairet in weave.
We hold historic textiles collected by these makers for inspiration and study, providing us with a glimpse into the early decades of the 1900s where foreign travel, culture and textiles played an important role in the embryonic modern crafts movement. An understanding of this period in the crafts is supported further by the archives of many of these makers, ranging from Barron and Larcher to Ethel Mairet and Rita Beales. Photographs, correspondence and letters, dye and weave recipe books, trade and exhibition catalogues and a large bank of textile samples tell the complex story about both the making process and social crafts networks of this period.
Printed, painted and resist-dyed textiles
We hold the major collection and archive of Phyllis Barron (1890-1964) and Dorothy Larcher (1884-1952), two of the leading hand-blockprinters of textiles working in Britain in the 1920s and '30s. The furnishing and dress materials which this unique partnership produced first in London and then in the Cotswolds are noted for their innovative designs printed in subtle colours on quality materials.
Also included in the printed textiles collection are pieces by Enid Marx, designer of posters for the London Underground, book illustrator and author of several books, Joyce Clissold of the Footprints workshop and Barron and Larcher's protégé Susan Bosence whose beautiful resist patterns helped to carry forward the ethos of their work into the later decades of the 20th century. The following are a selection of makers represented in the collection.
Work by weavers from the 1930s to present day
The Centre holds a strong collection of 20th century hand-woven textiles and represents a broad spectrum of makers in this medium. Significant of these are Ethel Mairet whose workshop in Ditchling in Sussex was seminal in the training of a whole generation of weavers from the 1930s and '40s: Elizabeth Peacock, Barbara Sawyer, Theo Moorman, Alice Hindson, Marianne Struab who also designed for industry and is remembered for her upholstery designs for the London Underground, Rita Beales who pioneered the use of linen in weave, Ursula Brock, rugs by Gwen and Barbara Mullins.
Our later 20th century collections include panels by Peter Collingwood and Amelia Uden, work by Ann Lander, Anne Richards, Alison Morton, Sue Hartree, Geraldine St Aubyn-Hubbard and ikat-woven pieces by Mary Restieaux. The following are a selection of makers represented in the collection.
Small but significant
We hold a small but significant collection of embroidered items. This consists of table linen worked by May Morris, eldest daughter of the great 19th century leader of the Arts and Crafts movement, William Morris and embroidery by the Cotswold-based artist Eve Simmonds.