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29 SEPTEMBER 2013

Handmade in Britain: The Story of Wallpaper

"In the second programme in the series, presenter Paul Martin reveals the secret history of wallpaper from the 17th century to the present day.

The film explores how wallpaper, seemingly so fragile and easy to replace, provides a vital index of changing tastes in the home. The programme shows how from its earliest days wallpaper imitated other, more costly wall coverings: from the 17th–century papers that were designed to look like embroidered textiles to 18th–century flocked wallpapers. The latter, intended as a cheaper substitute for costly damasks or velvets, became a triumph of British innovation, coming to grace the grandest of state apartments and country house interiors.

Focussing on how wallpaper was actually made, the programme goes onto explore how it became one of the battlefields in discussions about design in the 19th century. For, although technological innovations in machine printing had allowed manufacturers to print elaborate designs with complex colour–ways, some commentators were shocked by the poor aesthetic quality of British wallpapers. The programme looks at how designers and reformers attempted to take the situation in hand: from 'The False Principles of Design', an exhibition organised by Sir Henry Cole, the first Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, which sought to instruct the British public in good and bad design; to the pioneering work of Augustus Pugin and William Morris.

Finally, the film traces the fortunes of wallpaper in the 20th century. Patterned walls faced stiff competition from the purity of plain, painted or whitewashed walls, as advocated by modernists like Le Corbusier. However, new techniques, like screen–printing, allowed shorter runs of innovate wallpapers, which were aimed at architects and interior designers. And, as Paul Martin discovers, wallpaper is still flourishing at the beginning of the 21st century. A combination of digital printing, screen–printing and hand–printing allows companies, like Timorous Beasties, to produce exciting new designs.

Presented by Paul Martin, contributors include Christine Woods, Anthony Wells–Cole, Martha Armitage, Allyson McDermott and Paul Simmons (Timorous Beasties), as well as V&A experts."

First broadcast on 25 September 2013 on BBC Four as part of the Handmade in Britain series [http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03bm1rg].

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TAGS

16th century17th century18th century19th century20th century21st century • Allyson McDermott • Anthony Wells-Cole • antiqueart and craftsArts and Crafts Movement • Augustus Pugin • bad design • BBC Four • changing tastes • Christine Woods • colourways • damask • deluxe item • design craftdigital printingdomestic material object • elaborate designs • embroidered textiles • flock wallpaper • good design • hand-printing • Handmade in Britain (series) • Henry Cole • industrial grime • interior design • interior designer • interior stylingLe Corbusierluxury • machine printing • makersmanufacturing technology • Marthe Armitage • Palladio Wallpapers • pattern • Paul Martin • Paul Simmons • poisonprinting processscreenprinting • stately homes • technological innovation • The False Principles of Design • Timorous Beasties • two-up-two-down • velvetVictoria and Albert Museum • wall coverings • wallpaperwallpaper design • wallpapering • William Morris

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 JULY 2012

Maurizio Anzeri: embroidered patterns on found vintage photographs

"Maurizio Anzeri makes his portraits by sewing directly into found vintage photographs. His embroidered patterns garnish the figures like elaborate costumes, but also suggest a psychological aura, as if revealing the person's thoughts or feelings. The antique appearance of the photographs is often at odds with the sharp lines and silky shimmer of the threads. The combined media gives the effect of a dimension where history and future converge. The image used in Round Midnight is an early 20th century 'glamour shot' that at the time would have been considered titillating for both the girl's nudity and ethnicity. Anzeri's delicately stitched veil recasts the figure with an uncomfortable modesty, overlaying a past generation's cross–cultural anxieties with an allusion to our own.

'I've been collecting old photographs for a long time. A few years ago I was doing ink drawings with them and out of curiosity I stitched into one. I work a lot with threads and hand stitching, and the link to photography was a natural progression. I put tracing paper over the photo and draw on the face until it develops. Sometimes the image comes straight away, suggested by a detail on a dress or in the background, but with the majority of them I spend a lot of time drawing. Once the drawing is done, I pierce the photo with a set of needle–like tools I invented and take the paper away; the holes are obsessively paced at the same distance to convey an idea of geometry. When I begin the stitching something else happens, drawing will never do what thread will–the light changes, and at some points you can lose the face, and at others you can still see under it.'

'There's a dynamic in what happens between the photograph, the embroidery on top, and you standing in front looking at it. I try never to completely cover a face, you can always still see the face underneath. There are no rules other than I always leave one or both eyes open. Nothing is bigger in my head than a face, it's the best landscape we can look at. It's all to do with the centre, the body. Like a costume or other identity, my work reveals something that is behind the face that suddenly becomes in front. It's like a mask–not a mask you put on, but something that grows out of you. It's what the photo is telling you and what you want to read in the photos. I get my ideas from many different sources: it could be theatre, or someone dressed up on the tube, a tribe in Papua New Guinea, or Versace. It's never one specific thing.'

'Photographs from the 40s and 50s have a totally different quality from photos we're used to today. We don't recognise them as photographs now, they really look like watercolours or drawings. The images I use are anonymous, I find them everywhere; I'm really into flea markets and car boot sales, when you enter you have no idea what you're going to encounter. In everything I see there is something I am interested in, but I try to look at them as plain canvas. Art history is very important to me, it's all been done before but it's never been done by you: if you don't look into the past there is no chance to go into the future. The surrealist movement is important to my work, but I don't become obsessed by it, it's not dictating rules. I understand history in a formal respect, and think of past artists like travelling companions–making work is like going for a walk with them. At the end of the day it's about humanity.'"

(Saatchi Gallery)

Fig.1 Maurizio Anzeri, "Rita", 2011, Embroidery on photograph, 23.5 x 17.5 cm.

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TAGS

antique • antique appearance • art history • car boot sales • costumecraft nostalgia • cross-cultural anxieties • design craftdesign revisionism • elaborate costumes • embroidered patternsembroidery • embroidery on photograph • facefigures • flea markets • foundfound imagesgeometryglamour shot • hand stitching • inner thoughts • making art with recycled materialsmask • Maurizio Anzeri • modesty • needle • nostalgia • old photographs • overlaying • photographportrait • psychological aura • Saatchi Gallerysewing • sharp lines • silky shimmer • stitchedstitching • surrealist movement • textile arts • threads • travelling companions • veiledvintage

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 NOVEMBER 2009

Bibliopoly: search antiquarian booksellers

"Bibliopoly has been developed by Bernard Quaritch Ltd... an antiquarian bookshop established in London over one hundred and fifty years ago by a German–born bookseller. Quaritch... is proud to be a member of the British (ABA), the French (SLAM), and the German (Verband Deutscher Antiquare) trade associations affiliated to ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers).

Bibliopoly is designed to list the stock of participating antiquarian booksellers in a way that meets the specialized needs of those interested in antiquarian books, and is effective in five languages – English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish."

(Bernard Quaritch Ltd.)

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TAGS

ABA • antiquarian • antiquarian bookshop • antique • Bernard Quaritch • Bibliopoly • bookbooksellerbookshopEnglishFrenchGerman • ILAB • International League of Antiquarian Booksellers • ItalianLondonrarerare bookssearch • SLAM • Spanish • Verband Deutscher Antiquare

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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