This year’s Material: Textile is an online exhibition of historically important and highly collectable textiles by some of the most important Modern female designers working in Britain. Brought together for the first time – and offered as an online and virtual exhibition with an accompanying catalogue and podcast – the exhibition highlights the relevance of these mid-century textiles and the vital role they played in the evolution of taste and culture. It offers us all a unique insight into the artistic vision and originality of these women.
Britain’s history is intricately woven together with the history of textiles and never more so than following the Second World War. This exhibition celebrates the bold vision of the leading lights of 1950s – 70s textile design and introduces their iconic work to new collectors.
Throughout the period the designs created by an inspired group of women artists including Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler, Jacqueline Groag, and later Barbara Brown and many more, brought modern and contemporary art into the home, making it quite literally a part of the furniture.
Many of the textiles on show – produced by Heals, David Whitehead and Hull Traders – sit within collections including The V&A and The Whitworth. They have also featured in exhibitions worldwide in recent years and in publications on the history of the evolution of textiles and the textile industry, and our catalogue includes essays by preeminent historians Lesley Jackson and Mary Schoeser.
Exhibition in collaboration with Gray M.C.A Image: Zandra Rhodes ‘Top Brass’, 1963