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The architecture of Keble College, Oxford and its architect William Butterfield attracted great attention while the college was being built during the later 1860s and the 1870s. The choice of red brick was controversial enough for nineteenth-century Oxford, but it was the use of bold geometrical patterns in contrasting colours of cream and black brick combined with decorative elements in lighter coloured stone that especially concerned the critics. The appearance of chequerboard patterns, zig-zags, and wave-like patterns that ran across the facades of the college buildings enraged some observers, who viewed Butterfield’s polychromatic exteriors as provoking. This article investigates how Butterfield, who was no stranger to architectural polychromy, used distinctive coloured patterning in his designs for Keble College and suggests that he may have intentionally been referencing Tudor architecture.
This paper seeks to unravel the identity of those responsible for the original stained glass and art metalwork at Manchester’s Victoria Baths, which has remained a mystery for decades. Based on my research over the last few years I suggest who the designer might be, although their identity remains contested. Attempting to resolve the riddle, the paper explores the exquisite mix of richly coloured and textured stained glass, leaded lights and ornamental art metalwork with reference to Manchester businesses active in the Arts and Crafts Movement in the city at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Moquette has become an intrinsic part of the unique character of public transport in London since the beginning of the twentieth century. Moquette derives from the French word for fitted carpet. It is a tough woollen fabric that is used on public transport seating all over the world and has been extensively used in London on the Underground, trains, buses, trams, trolleybuses, and cable cars over the Thames. This article will explore the origins of the term moquette and how the fabric has been used throughout history. It will also describe the commissioning, design, and manufacturing process, as well as the work of artists commissioned by London Transport to produce pattern designs for moquette. London Transport Museum holds a collection of moquette designs used across the capital for a century. This important resource remains a source of inspiration and appreciation for future designs as the transport network expands.
The twentieth-century story of the Irish linen industry was one of spectacular fluctuation, but also terminal decline. It faced persistent threats including economic depressions, synthetic fibres, raw supply difficulties, foreign competition and in addition, a new political identity for Ulster. Shrinking markets no longer placed the same value on ideologically driven concepts of quality and the (Irish) provenance that were defining features of linen marketing prior to The Great War. However, there were pockets of resilience in the industry. The Old Bleach Linen Company exemplified this and is a case in point. In 1864, Charles J. Webb revived a dormant cotton mill, by the River Maine, in Randalstown, County Antrim. From the outset, the company produced high quality well-designed linens, supported by royal patronage and global markets. By the Interwar period, the company had expanded considerably by innovating in a number of areas. Colour-fast vat dyes for linen was one company development and is the focus of this article.
The aim of this article is to investigate more closely a particular aspect of the art of Fulco Di Verdura (1899–1978): the roots and durability of the ‘umbilical cord’ which connected him not only to Sicilian history but also to the rich history of Sicilian art and particularly its jewellery. His early sensory connections: sights, scents, tastes, sounds and above all colours, were impressed indelibly on his imaginative soul. He also salvaged patterns, materials and the techniques of goldsmiths’ work using enamels, coral, precious and semi-precious stones that were intrinsic to the history of jewellery in Sicily. He chose not to live on the island of his birth, but he also chose not to forget it.
Althea McNish (1924–2020) is regarded as the first black designer of Caribbean heritage to gain international recognition for her textile designs. Her work in the field of textiles and interior design is remarkable, both for its artistic achievement and its social and cultural significance for British post-war design. Although McNish would go on to have a career spanning nearly 60 years as a designer, there is very little written about her approach to practice and process and use of colour. This article will discuss and highlight McNish’s impact, influence and role in the development of the use of colour in mid twentieth-century textile design, through unpublished archival research and reflections on the recent exhibition of her work. McNish’s work is informed by her dynamic palette and her vibrant use of colour, for which she would become renowned, indeed McNish herself stated, ‘I was born seeing colour from the day of my birth.’
Toots Zynsky, an innovative and leading figure in the American studio glass movement from its early days, has explored colour, in its infinite variety, in her vessel sculptures for nearly 40 years. Initially her work in glass was concerned more with the fascinating properties of the material than with colour. But over a three-year period from 1982 to 1985 many things came together. She solved various technical issues with her work which enabled her to make the thin coloured glass threads from which she creates her sculptures. She also completely changed her environment, living in Amsterdam, Venice and Ghana, which all provided critical colour influences, along with music and the natural world that still inspire her today.