Friday Gem from the Stoddard – Templeton Design Archive: Agnes Pinder Davis

This week’s gem from the Stoddard – Templeton Design Archive is a collection of designs by Agnes Pinder Davis from the 1930s.

Agnes Pinder Davis was a well known and well respected artist/designer in the 1930s. She produced countless designs for ceramic firms such as Royal Doulton and Crown Staffordshire, specialising in tea and dinner services as well as figures in what we would now term as ‘Art Deco’ or ‘modern’ styles. She was also very active as an interior designer, and went on to complete work on passenger liners the Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth, Mauretania II and Caronia, amongst others.

Despite these accomplishments however, she has now been almost totally forgotten. Thankfully we still have some of her designs in the Stoddard – Templeton Design Archive.

It’s interesting to notice Templeton’s collaborations with various female up-and-coming designers at this time. They were clearly keen to work with Avant Garde designers, as evidenced in the presence of designs by, amongst others, Agnes Pinder Davis, Enid Marx, Marion Dorn, Bianca Minns and Hélène Gallet.

Artist's impression of the design concept for the Main Lounge of RMS Queen Mary with carpet by Agnes Pinder Davis, 1936.

As discussed in a previous post, James Templeton & Co Ltd was commissioned to work on various luxury passenger liners, one of which was the Queen Mary. In 1936, after commissioning post-impressionist artist Duncan Grant to design the carpet for the Main Lounge, the designs he proposed were rejected as being too avant garde. Agnes Pinder Davis was hurriedly selected as a replacement designer. There wasn’t enough time to complete the carpet before the liner’s maiden voyage though, and so a replacement was installed as a temporary measure, until 1939. Agnes Pinder Davis’s carpet was finally fitted during a post WWII refit.

Below is a fascinating video clip, via Bill Cwiklo’s excellent blog, about one portion of the Agnes Pinder Davis carpet left in storage for many years. Its owner, Jonathan Quayle – a respected collector of Maritime Antiquities – decided to have it thoroughly and professionally cleaned. This footage is from a television programme about the Golden age of liners originally broadcast on BBC4 in 2009.

For more information on the Stoddard-Templeton Collection click here, or visit the project blog.



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1 reply

  1. I have a piece of artwork by Agnes Pinder Davis which is 28″ by 34″……….It is aluminum leaf on a dark wood, and
    represents flowers . As I recall, my father, who was in the decorating field, represented Ms. Davis here in the United
    States for a time. I don’t know whether she sold much here, but I know that there was another large panel done with
    the same metal leaf. As I recall, my father (who died in 1983) had some connection with her in the years after WW II.

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