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THE JOURNAL

A fully illustrated annual journal contains authoritative articles based on original research. With at least 150 pages and over 100 illustrations, many in colour, the Journal is of permanent scholarly value to both institutions and collectors.

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JOURNAL 45 - 2021

Review of the Year 2021
Introduction
A Tribute to Peter Rose
Queen Victoria’s Buckingham Palace; Bedrooms for a State Visit. Ellinor Gray
Gothic Revival influences on Europe’s border: change and resistance in Malta between decorative arts and architecture. Dr Mark Sagona
Newton School of Metal Work. David Marshall
Visions of theatrical living: pochoir prints, fashion andinterior design in early-twentieth century France. Rachel Coombes
Minnie McLeish, artist, designer and campaigner for art in industry. Dr Keren Protheroe
Chelsea Figurines and Studio Ceramics: The overlooked women modellers of the inter-war period. Rebecca Knott
Denham Maclaren (1903-1989): Furniture and Interior Designer. Duane Kahlhamer
Capturing Decorative Art – The Work of Frances Priest. Sarah Rothwell
Contributors to Journal 45
List of Members of the DAS

Past Journals

QUEEN VICTORIA’S BUCKINGHAM PALACE; BEDROOMS FOR A STATE VISIT.

In 1855 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert hosted a State Visit for the Emperor Napoleon and Empress Eugénie of France. For this important event rooms at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace were redecorated and furnished, with the schemes documented in watercolours. The paintings depicting Buckingham Palace, by James Roberts (c.1800-1867), are understood to be the first for these spaces in the newly completed East Wing; they provide an insight into design of the time and the use of decorative arts and interior decoration to support political diplomacy. New research into work undertaken by the cabinet-making and upholstery firm Holland & Sons for the Royal Family, has revealed their previously unappreciated involvement in these important interiors. This article is the outcome of the first research to explore the Holland & Sons company ledgers, alongside the examination of related watercolours and decorative arts surviving in the Royal Collection today.

Ellinor Gray

GOTHIC REVIVAL INFLUENCES ON EUROPE’S BORDER: CHANGE AND RESISTANCE IN MALTA BETWEEN DECORATIVE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE.

This paper discusses the extent of the influences of the Gothic Revival on Malta, placing them within the specific, nineteenth-century scenario of a significant British Colony with a committed Roman Catholic soul. It documents the precocious, albeit timid, appearance of Gothic Revival motifs in the third decade of the 19th century and traces them through gradual consolidation in the second half of the century in both the decorative arts and architecture, which was followed by a certain degree of acceptance and reception. This analysis also considers the more insular current where Gothic Revival motifs were applied in an eclectic manner, generally resulting from a resistance to a full acceptance of the style. More importantly, this paper discusses a small, but artistically significant corpus of ecclesiastical works imported from various centres in Europe, notably those from the immediate circle of the great instigator and visionary of the Revival in England, A.W.N. Pugin (1812-52). A combination of historical, religious and political forces facilitated the percolation of artistic currents from mainland Europe so that the Maltese Archipelago became an extension of the European and Mediterranean design ethos. In the field of the decorative arts Malta was thus transformed into a microcosm of the larger international context.

Dr Mark Sagona

NEWTON SCHOOL OF METAL WORK.

In the winter of 1890 a class was begun by a local estate owner in the small village of Newton, Cambridgeshire. Like many philanthropic employers at the time the primary initiator was keen to improve the education and quality of life of workers in his community. The class would become the Newton School of Metal Work and continue to operate successfully for over half a century. The School began at the peak of the Arts & Crafts Movement as one of numerous classes under the umbrella of the Home Arts and Industries Association but it was one of a much smaller number to become both a thriving metal working school and a successful village industry. This article explores the School’s founders, key designers and workers and the organisations that influenced and shaped its success. The School was little documented during its lifetime but piecing together the history has been made much easier by the foresight of a relative of the former tutor who retained an important archive of designs and photographs. This new information has been studied and interpreted along with historical documents to tell the full story and raise the profile of this important but largely forgotten School.

David Marshall

VISIONS OF THEATRICAL LIVING: POCHOIR PRINTS, FASHION AND INTERIOR DESIGN IN EARLY-TWENTIETH CENTURY FRANCE.

In early 20th century France, the pochoir (‘stencil’) print was exploited by designers such as the celebrated couturier Paul Poiret (1879 - 1944) for its ‘elitist’ cachet. Poiret collaborated with pochoir illustrators such as Georges Lepape and Paul Iribe to promote his elaborate designs. This article will argue that the pochoir should be recognised as an especially important vehicle through which Poiret realized his theatrical reveries. His pochoir illustrators paid great attention to the harmonious integration of clothing and interior décor in their work, echoing a kind of mise-en-scène derived from the Ballets Russes spectacles.

Rachel Coombes

MINNIE MCLEISH, ARTIST, DESIGNER AND CAMPAIGNER FOR ART IN INDUSTRY.

Minnie McLeish (1876-1957) is today best known for her modernist textiles but like many women working in design before the Second World War, a broader spectrum of activity defined her professional design life in the 1920s and 1930s. Until now, little has been written about her life and work, although her name and textile designs appear regularly in surveys of modern design in early 20th century Britain. This article addresses the relative obscurity of McLeish’s career and makes the case for how influential she was in her lifetime even though her contribution and broader story have been lost in the history of early 20th century British modernism. It traces her career from 1900 to the 1940s, positioning her textile work relative to the hierarchy of avant-garde art influences coming from Europe, and the discourse regarding the use of artists for design for industry in the 1920s.

Dr Keren Protheroe

CHELSEA FIGURINES AND STUDIO CERAMICS: THE OVERLOOKED WOMEN MODELLERS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD.

In the 1920s and 30s a small group of studio figure modellers, predominantly based in Chelsea, gained significant popularity. Mainly women makers, the group included Gwendolen Parnell, Madeline Raper, Stella Crofts, Helen Wickham, and Charles and Nell Vyse. Each produced figurines individually or in a workshop, working in the manner characteristic of the emerging Studio Pottery movement. Although in recent years some attention has been given to Crofts, Parnell and the Vyses, most of the group have been given little or none, and their significance has never been collectively assessed. Contemporary accounts clearly demonstrate the inter-war popularity of the figurines and show that the group had a loyal following. The article will address the group’s work in the V&A collection and will explore the gendered reality of these women makers.

Rebecca Knott

DENHAM MACLAREN (1903-1989): FURNITURE AND INTERIOR DESIGNER.

As well as Gerald Summers of Makers of Simple Furniture, already the subject of much study, the work of another British designer, Denham Maclaren (1903-1989), stands out from that of his professional contemporaries during the interwar period of the 20th century. Until now little has been written about him, especially after his career faded in the late 1930s and only a handful of his designs have surfaced at auction since the late 1980s. An interior designer, as well as a designer of furniture, Maclaren was active only between the late 1920s and the late 1930s. His output was far less prolific than Summers’ and fewer designs were suitable for mass production. Maclaren’s wooden furniture would have been produced by skilled craftsmen on an ad hoc basis and some were made only as unique pieces. Items like lighting, tubular steel and glass furniture, however, were probably intended for limited mass production. The length of his career was also curtailed by personal problems and by the outbreak of war. His unique contribution to the history of British furniture is significant, but since so little of his work was documented, today we have difficulty identifying his designs.

Duane Kahlhamer

CAPTURING DECORATIVE ART – THE WORK OF FRANCES PRIEST.

Within this article I hope to highlight and explore the progression of the practice of Edinburgh-based ceramic artist, Frances Priest, through works held by National Museums Scotland, and her most recent public commission for the city’s Royal Edinburgh Hospital. I shall discuss her enduring passion for The Grammar of Ornament, by the Victorian designer and polymath Owen Jones. And her desire to reconceptualise and interpret his visual explorations and documentation of pattern from across cultures, held within such Victorian design manuals. Some of these compendia are currently being re-evaluated as part of a system of western cultural appropriation. Priest, however, uses them to create works of contemporary craft that celebrate the history of the decorative arts, and the legacy of the unknown or uncelebrated craftsmen, who created the wonderful motifs and patterns held within them.

Sarah Rothwell