Previous page: Left: Thistle wallpaper, by John Henry Dearle, for Morris & Co. Block print. England, 1897 Right: William Morris by Frederick Hollyer, 1874 below: Left: Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher printing in Hampstead Right: Winchester Phyllis Barron printed on heavy linen
– spearheaded this revival, setting up a small textile printing workshop where they experimented with natural dyes. Eschewing the technical sophistication of earlier Arts and Crafts textiles, Barron and Larcher aspired to a more earthy, ‘primitive’ aesthetic, drawing on ethnographic sources such as African art for their dynamic abstract designs.
The history of block printing in Britain is all about lineage, with hands-on skills and trade secrets being passed from one practitioner to another through apprenticeships. One of Barron and Larcher’s assistants, Enid Marx, went on to establish her own studio, producing block-printed dress and furnishing fabrics that were sometimes raw and punchy, sometimes delicate and light. Marx had studied at the Royal College of Art in the early 1920s alongside Edward Bawden. Their collective interest in wood engraving, fuelled by their tutor Paul Nash, closely paralleled and complemented their involvement with block printing. Bawden created a series of entertaining lino-printed wallpaper designs, such as Woodpigeon, some of which were lithographically printed by the Curwen Press, while others were block printed by Cole & Son, leading exponents of the craft right up to the present day.
Another key figure in this artistic circle was Peggy Angus, see pg 36, who, like Bawden and Marx, believed that the applied arts were just as creative an avenue as fine art. After the Second World War, as well as designing ceramic tiles for Poole Pottery, Angus produced a collection of blockprinted wallpapers at her workshop in Camden Town featuring simple abstract patterns and motifs such as suns and moons. Printed in emulsion paint on lining paper using lino blocks, the textural effects tre UCA
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