Improving Design for Woven Silks
Author: Thunder M.
Source: Journal of Design History, Volume 17, Number 1, March 2004 , pp. 5-27(23)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:There are few designs for woven silks of the 1750s that can be compared, in terms of motifs, aesthetic qualities and feasibility, to those by Anna Maria Garthwaite (16901763), the pre-eminent silk designer of her period. The lack of comparative material makes the premium-winning designs in the collection of the Royal Society of Arts particularly interesting. These designs were considered good by the Society of Arts during the period 175659. Conversely, in 1757, a mercer doubted the ability of the Society's committee to assess the feasibility of the designs and recommended that a master weaver attend the adjustment session.Current discourse overwhelmingly dismisses the role of academies and premiums as the creative force which transformed the quality of design for a range of manufactures from the 1730s.1 The aim of this article, however, is to evaluate the contribution of William Shilpley's School and the Society of Arts to the creation of good design for the silk industry. Part of the evaluation involves tracing the careers of premium-winners and a comparison of their designs to woven silks with similar motifs and patterns. It is argued that the evaluation shows how the Society of Arts did influence employment with the silk industry.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2004-03-01
- Journal of Design History is a leading journal in its field. It plays an active role in the development of design history (including the history of the crafts and applied arts), as well as contributing to the broader field of studies of visual and material culture. The journal includes a regular book reviews section and lists books received, and from time to time publishes special issues.