By Lin Cunningham, MLitt Dress and Textiles Histories
It can often be difficult to establish what has influenced or inspired an idea for a design. The number of designs required each year from a studio can run into the hundreds, and each must be suitable for its range of customers and markets.
Inspiration could come from an original idea, or another design in the collection. In this case, it is possible to trace this design (fig 1) back to another by Edouard Bénédictus (1878-1930), published in a portfolio of work titled Novelles Variations, in 1929 (fig 2).
These handsomely published portfolios contained sets of hand stencilled designs and were acquired by the company for the use of their in house design staff – and are now part of the Stoddard Design Library, held by the Glasgow School of Art.
Although the design has incorporated the work of Bénédictus, it also now includes a full repeat of the pattern, and has been partially re-coloured (fig 3). The design is now on squared paper, which was a necessary part of the conversion process to enable it to become a woven design, and the colour palette, and weave instructions are included with it. This design can therefore provide us with a rare insight into the resourceful use of material and the processes required to create working, woven patterns.
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