For anyone interested in British textiles, Very Sanderson: 150 Years of English Decoration is on at The Fashion & Textile Museum until 13th June is definitely worth a visit. It traces the firms development from the very early days to the present to the 150th anniversary Vintage Collection launched this year.
It’s especially fascinating to see the early photogravure papers that were introduced in 1923, way before they became standard in the industry. Sanderson really pushed the boundaries of this technique. The exhibition includes some fine examples of papers that have gravure metallised canvas grounds, which were then surface printed with water-based emulsions. Another paper that shows the range of textured gravure grounds is from 1926 by Harry Watkins Wild – a beautiful peacock print. Look out for it as it hangs in the entrance hall on the way into the exhibition.
There are also some interesting interviews with people significant to Sanderson’s history. Pat Albeck discusses her design Sunflowers that has been re-launched. It was first produced for one of my all time favourite collections, the Palladio, but I think this design really stands the test of time and still looks fresh and contemporary. Elsewhere in the film Albert Riva, Sanderson’s Italian agent who grew up understanding and appreciating the collection and took over from his father in the 1960s, talks with affection about the company.
Accompanying the 150th anniversary celebrations is ‘Sanderson. The Essence of English Decoration’ by Mary Schoeser. She is an authority on textiles and wallpaper and her beautifully illustrated book is a must if you’d like a more detailed look at the company’s history and developments.
'The Essence of English Decoration', by Mary Schoeser
CFA Voysey, William Morris, Picasso, John Piper, Lucienne Day, Norman Hartnel… ‘Very Sanderson’ celebrates a roll call of amazing designers and artists invited over the years to combine innovation with timelessness. Long may it continue!
For more information see the Fashion and Textiles Museum blog and download the Sanderson history timeline.
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