This week’s gem is an unassuming little book from the Stoddard Templeton Design Archive known as the Templeton Register of Designs Bought: Sketches 1897-1915. It might not look like much, but it is a true archival gem when it comes to contextualising the designs we are cataloguing.
If we are very lucky the design sketches are signed and dated, but this is quite rare.
Alternatively the designs might have the designer’s monogram like this one from Fred Mayer, or a label or stamp that identifies which design studio it came from. The majority of designs we’ve catalogued to date have been from designers based in Paris, and include many from both G. Lassé and Libert.
However, most of the designs have no such contextualising information. They might have some apparently random numbers, but if we’re lucky they will have a number on them written in red ink.
Numbers written in red ink can be cross referenced with the Register of Designs Bought, which at the very least will give us the name of the Designer, but potentially much more. For example, when and where the design was bought, how much was paid for it, its pattern number, and the type of carpet ultimately manufactured based on the original design. Thus we discovered that the above design was purchased from Silver Studio at the turn of the 20th century.
Categories: Archive Services (GUAS)