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The V&A's pattern archives

The V&A has an incredible three million designs for textiles, wallpapers and prints. Lots are 20th century designs and the museum has taken a selection and adorned new objects with these little bits of design history. 

The range includes things covered in designs by Keith Vaughan, a self-taught artist and conscientous objector to WW2, whose work forms an exhibition on until June 12 at the excellent Pallant House Gallery in Chichester; the colour Brit fashion designer/national treasure, Zandra Rhodes, John Drummond, who designed for Hull Traders and also Sandersons during the 1950s; textiles designer and fashion tutor at Central St Martins, Natalie Gibson, who is profiled colourfully on the Stylelikeu blog;  Eddie Squires, who commemorated the moon landing in 1969 with his Lunar Rocket design. These are my favourites from the shop...

Clockwise from top right:

Homemaker plate, £12
Designed by Enid Seeney in 1957ish and produced by Ridgeway Potteries this classic design has now been reissued.

Teal Leaf stag head (small), £35
Although they've been dotted through magazines and on Pinterest again and again, I still haven't tired of the stag head as a good bit of home decor. I prefer mine made rather than shot, and this wooden one is enhanced further with patterns taken from 18th and 19th century Italian textiles. Apparently it can be hung outdoors as well as inside. He'd make a great feature for a garden needing a splash of colour (particularly if, like me, you are so inept at gardening that you won't get that in your flowerbeds).

Fisherman (left) and Fishes tea-towels, £5 each
Printed with designs, respectively, by Keith Vaughan (see intro) from 1956; and Rhona Park, from a 1951 furnishing fabric, are part of a vast range of gorgeous textiles from the V&A in dishcloth form, for just a fiver. I have a friend who has turned tea-towels as wall-art, by putting them in frames and into home-made cushion covers (with different fabric as a backing).

V&A Pattern: Liberty & Co book, £7.99
Here are 80 pages of pure pattern from the Liberty Archives, plus a free high-res CD of images to play with. You can see more of this beautifully packaged series as well as some other lovely design books here.

While browsing the V&A shop, I also discovered a great search facility that allows you to search patterns by decade. Here, for example, is the 1950s section. I could flick through these for hours...

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