This week’s gem from the Stoddard – Templeton Design Archive is a design by Paris-based designer Hélène Gallet from 1937 and was intended to celebrate the proposed coronation of Edward VIII. But just a few months into his reign, Edward caused a constitutional crisis by proposing to marry an American divorcée named Wallis Simpson. The prime minister opposed the marriage, arguing that Mrs Simpson would never be accepted as Queen. Edward knew that if the marriage went ahead, he would have been dragged into a general election and his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch would be ruined. Rather than give up Mrs. Simpson, Edward chose to abdicate. With a reign of just 325 days, Edward is one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British and Commonwealth history, and was never crowned. This design is one of these curious pieces of memorabilia made in anticipation of a coronation that was never to be.
Gallet was an accomplished designer, who worked mainly is the fields of textile and wallpaper design, but also exhibited alongside the likes of neo-cubist artist Tamara de Lempicka. The flatness of the design is very much in keeping with the Art Deco aesthetic of the time. Although the flat, blank quality of this particular design might instead be due to the fact that the commission was probably promptly scrapped as news broke of Edward’s abdication and the designer probably simply never bothered to complete it!
Merry christmas and happy new year folks! We’ll be back with more gems next year.
For more information about the Stoddard-Templeton Design Archive click here.
Categories: Archive Services (GUAS)