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Read, Watch and Listen

‘Anemone’ furniture fabric design by William Morris

Registered by ‘William Morris trading under the style of Morris & Co’ on 8 February 1876. BT 43/372/298226. This original design is for a woven wool and silk fabric. It demonstrates Morris’ use of natural forms and motifs, which were the result of his careful study of the natural world, within flat, stylised patterns. Like Pugin, Morris believed in ‘truth to materials’, saying that he tried ‘to make woollen substances as woollen as possible, cotton as cottony as possible, and so on.’ At the time this design was registered, Morris was experimenting with different dyes, in particular indigo, as an alternative to the newer chemical dyes.

‘Persian sprig’ wallpaper designed by Owen Jones

Registered by John Trumble and Company on 23 June 1858. BT 43/97/114061. ‘Persian Sprig’ again reflects Jones’ interest in Islamic design. It also demonstrates his design precepts. He said that ‘all direct representations of nature in paper hangings should be avoided’ but instead natural forms should be ‘conventionalised’, or stylised, and distributed across the surface using geometric principles. Jones was well-known as a colour theorist, and received high praise for his colour schemes for the interior of the Crystal Palace. For wallpapers, he said that colours should be blended so that from a distance they would present ‘a neutralised bloom’.

Wallpaper registered by Heywood, Higginbottom, Smith & Co on 22 May 1851

BT 43/88/78974. This is an example of the kind of design the reformers deplored. In 1852 Henry Cole put on an exhibition at the Museum of Manufactures at Marlborough House called the ‘Gallery of False Principles in Decoration’. This provided examples of where British manufacturers were going wrong, the accompanying Catalogue explaining the various violations of the reformers’ principles of design. The wallpaper, intended to celebrate the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, showed great skill and complexity in its manufacture. However, it was exhibit number 28 in the Gallery of False Principles, condemned because it ‘falsified perspective’. Clearly it failed to meet other measures of ‘correct’ design, being neither ‘subdued’, ‘conventionalised’ nor ‘flat’.

Textile designed by A W N Pugin

Registered by Frederick Crace & Son on 28 May 1850. BT 43/357/69572. This is one of the few printed, as opposed to woven, textiles designed by Pugin. The flat pattern is highly original, and combines ogee forms and fleur-de-lis motifs inspired by medieval art with flower forms and trailing leaves. Pugin was one of the first architect/designers to be involved in all aspects of the decorative arts, and regarded textiles as an important aspect of interior design. Registered as a furnishing fabric, this textile was used in the interior scheme of Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, and is thought to have been displayed in the Medieval Court at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Wallpaper designed by A W N Pugin

Registered by Frederick Crace & Son on 12 October 1848. BT 43/84/54787. The architect and designer A W N Pugin was a pioneer of design reform and promoted a revival of Gothic art, which he associated with the Christian values of a pre-industrial age. He is perhaps now best known for his work with Charles Barry on the new Palace of Westminster, for which this wallpaper was made. It was inspired by fifteenth century Italian textile design, and reflects Pugin’s belief that three-dimensional effects in wallpaper should be avoided as ‘dishonest’. Instead the pattern should be flat, reflecting the flat surface of the wall and what he termed ‘truth to materials’.

Green Purbeck Marble

Digital Photograph 2013

©Rose Ferraby

The polished surface of this stone glimmers with the sectioned remains of ancient shells. The gaping Unio and whirling Viviparus shells give a clue as to its identity. Though not strictly a marble, the high polish taken by this limestone has been made use of since the Roman times. A band of landscape in Purbeck is pitted and uneven where the marble was dug for cathedrals and tombs. It continues to be highly valued.

 

The Musicians’ Journal, No. 27 (January 1928)

In this New Year message, the Journal linked its ambition to increase subscriptions with two other campaigns. It targets Armed Forces Bands for playing public concerts free of charge and undermining civilian musicians’ employment. And it scorns what one official called “a glorified Gramophone, the Panatrope, the proprietors of which seem to think it is going to do away with orchestras. …There does not seem to be any immediate danger of this Machine being used extensively to the detriment of our members.”

The Musicians’ Journal, New Series 4 (January 1930)

This cartoon was reproduced in the Journal thanks to the American Federation of Musicians. Unlike the British cartoonists’ work, which invariably centres on the human figures involved, it is pointedly satirical of the anti-human nature of the machinery. Cupid’s harp (emblem of the movies’ desire to be seen as an art form) is wrecked, and the terrier parodies the mascot for His Master’s Voice. The yowling mutt turns its back on the cranky apparatus, whereas in the famous company logo a serene Nipper focuses lovingly on the gramophone horn. 

The Musicians’ Journal, New Series 5 (April 1930)

Returning to its battle against unfair competition from Army Bands, the Journal here directed its fire at no less a person than Tom Shaw, Secretary for War in Ramsay MacDonald’s second Labour Government. In a blistering attack on him and Manny Shinwell (Financial Secretary to the War Office) it presented persuasive evidence of serial engagements of Forces Bands in seaside resorts and accused the ministers of evading a major social issue while 4,000 civilian musicians were out of work.

The Musicians’ Journal, New Series 7 (October 1930)

This cartoon first appeared in the Glasgow Evening News. It reflected the fears of some Musicians’ Union writers about the possible cultural impact of Hollywood talkies on British audiences. One drew attention to the prospect that audiences would have musical tastes forced on them by film companies, whereas a resident orchestra could respond to local tastes. Worse, the children of England might perhaps learn to speak with an American accent and abandon their own “homely and honest” dialects.

‘Moresque’ wallpaper designed by Owen Jones

Registered by John Trumble & Co on 23 June 1858. BT 43/97/114049. The principles of design set out by Pugin were taken up by the design reform movement based around the Government School of Design in South Kensington. A key figure in the movement was Owen Jones. Jones travelled widely, researching different styles of design which were brought together and categorised in his hugely influential book The Grammar of Ornament, published in 1856. He was particularly inspired by Islamic design, as can be seen in this wallpaper, and led the way in the nineteenth century revival of what was termed the Moorish style in architecture and decoration.

‘Daisy’ wallpaper designed by William Morris

Registered by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co on 1 February 1864. BT 43/99/171341. ‘Daisy’ was the first wallpaper designed by William Morris to be put into production. Morris, like the Pre-Raphaelite painters with whom he set up Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co, shared Pugin’s passion for medieval art, culture and design, as well as his belief in the intrinsic value of hand craftsmanship and dislike of contemporary British design. ‘Daisy’, formed of stylised floral motifs, is thought to have been inspired by an illustration in a fifteenth-century version of Froissart’s Chronicles, shown in an illuminated manuscript at the British Museum. By the 1870s Morris’s wallpapers were often regarded as key elements of an Aesthetic interior.

‘Peacock’ wallpaper dado designed by E W Godwin

Registered by Jeffrey & Co on 18 February 1873. BT 43/100/270551

E W Godwin helped to popularise the Anglo-Japanese style, one of the defining characteristics of the Aesthetic movement. He introduced one of the movement’s most popular symbols, the peacock, shown here in the highly stylised form of a Japanese crest or mon. The diagonal ‘H’ pattern in the background was also derived from Japanese ornament. This formal peacock design was intended for use as a dado, with another of his designs, ‘Bamboo’, an informal, asymmetrical design, as the filling, or main section of wallpaper. The three-part division of walls into a dado, filling and frieze became a distinctive feature of Aesthetic design.

‘The Sleeping Beauty’ wallpaper designed by Walter Crane

Registered by Jeffrey & Co on 21 August 1879. BT 43/103/338553

Well-known as an illustrator of children’s books, Walter Crane designed a number of nursery wallpapers for Jeffrey & Co, including The Sleeping Beauty. Like William Morris, Crane believed that the decorative arts had symbolic potential. Morna O’Neill (2010) has discussed the way in which Crane returned to the theme of The Sleeping Beauty throughout his career. For example, in an essay of 1892 he refers to ‘the sense of beauty’ who, ‘like the enchanted princess in the wood, seems liable, both in communities and individuals, to periods of hypnotism’.

Woven silk fabric registered by William Fry & Co on 20 December 1876

BT 43/414/306159. This textile design was sold as a roller-printed cotton by Liberty’s department store in Regent Street, a key force in popularising the Aesthetic style, from the late 1880s onwards. It was revived in 1975 and is still used in a range of artefacts by the store under the name Hera. However, the design represents something of a mystery. It is usually attributed to Arthur Silver at the Silver Studio, but the sample at The National Archives was registered in 1876, several years before the Silver Studio was established in 1880, calling this attribution into question.

‘Indian’ wallpaper designed by Christopher Dresser

Registered by Jeffrey & Co on 28 May 1879. Christopher Dresser was a prolific designer, working across most areas of the decorative arts. He wrote a number of influential works on design and design theory, but unlike proponents of the Arts and Crafts Movement embraced mass production. Like Pugin and other designer reformers, Dresser believed in using nature as the basis of ornament. Trained as a botanist, he pioneered the concept of ‘artistic botany’, contributing a plate to his former tutor Owen Jones’ book The Grammar of Ornament. Like Jones, Dresser believed that representations of nature should be ‘conventionalised’ rather than naturalistic, as shown in this design featuring stylised cornflowers.

Endpapers, The Good Housekeeping Institute's 'Book of Good Housekeeping'

London and Chesham: Gramol Publications Ltd., 1946 (1944, 1945)

From a curvilinear modern house with horizontal fenestration to a thatched farmhouse via a suburban detached house, and an Arts and Crafts style manor house, the endpapers for this advice book (and the book’s plates and line drawings) provide a synchronic representation of architectural heterogeneity, illustrating the variety of what home could be in 1946, and implying, therefore, address to a broad readership. 

‘Vulgarity’, Portrait by John Deakin, jugs photographed by Elsie Collins

Image in Alan Jarvis, The Things We See No. 1 Indoors and Out, West Drayton, Middlesex: Penguin, 1946, 47. Permission, Design Council / University of Brighton Design Archives. CC-BY.

Jarvis shows how visual rhetoric can communicate class and gender norms. He contributes to a tradition of teaching consumers to distinguish between good and bad, which extends back to nineteenth-century design reform, for example Augustus Welby Pugin’s True Principles (1841). Jarvis wrote ‘…by vulgarity we mean just this kind of coarseness of body, cheapness of ornament, and insensitive application of make-up. The parallel in the case of pottery is exact, in its florid shape and crude cosmetic decoration’. 

Stephen J. Voorhies, ‘An Ideal Kitchen Arrangement’

Fig. 137 in Emily Post The Personality of a House, fourth edition 1948 [1930], New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls Company, p. 398. 

In her discussion of ‘Today’s Kitchen’, leading US etiquette writer Emily Post was influenced by Christine Frederick’s application of Scientific Management to homemaking, and an emphasis on designing domestic spaces with a view to ‘saving steps’ (See, for example ‘Efficient grouping of kitchen equipment’ (Scientific Management in the Home, London: G. Routledge & Sons, 1920 p. 22)

‘Although your elders’ love for you amounts to adoration, a scene like this would be improved by greater moderation’

Illustration by Charles Malcolm Allen in Betty Allen and Mitchell Pirie Briggs, If You Please: A Book of Manners for Young Moderns, rev. ed., J. B. Lippincott Company, [1942] 1950, p. 194.

Allen and Briggs’s books exemplify a tendency to show in the illustrations what is censured by the text. Scenes of teenagers having fun—listening to loud music, socialising without permission—carry disapproving captions. However, these depictions of censured activity might provide scenarios of identification for young people in a manner unplanned by authors and possibly even illustrators in the absence of an authorial voice for that group in post-war advice books.

Cover, Illustration by Esme, 'The Creda Housecraft Manual'

Stoke-on-Trent: Simplex Electric Co. and London: Odhams, 1958. Permission IPC Media, a Time Inc. Company. CC-BY-NC-ND.

Publisher Odhams Press used the same visual identity across genres and decades when it repurposed cover designs by illustrator Esme (Florence Olive Esme Eve) from The Woman Week-End Book numbers 1 and 2 (1949) for the Creda Housecraft Manual (1958). While the Woman Week-End Books are entertaining selections of short stories, and tips on beauty, housewifery, personal problems, cookery, knitting, and useful things to make’, the Creda Housecraft Manual promotes a household appliance brand forming an example therefore of the ‘advertising cookbooks’ genre.

How to make an award winning film

Steve Evanson, Research in Film Awards judge and co-creator of the global TV brand Coast, offers his advice for how to make a successful film.

AHRC's Summer Reading List 2018

We asked you to send in your recommendations for superb summer reads. We’ve picked some of our favourites and put them below with some top recommendations from AHRC staff to form the ultimate summer reading list.

Spotlight on: the Best Research award nominations

This week we throw the spotlight on the five projects and lead researchers that have been nominated for the best research category as part of the Arts & Humanities Research Council and Wellcome Trust’s Health Humanities Medal 2018.

Interview with PhD award winner Dr John Miles

All humanities researchers are entrepreneurs, according to Dr John Miles. And he argues that doing a PhD in the arts and humanities equips you with vital skills for work in – or out – of academia.

Richard Neave and the Manchester method

Mr Richard Neave developed the combination technique for facial depiction, called the Manchester method, which incorporated the anatomical and anthropometrical methods. This method includes attention to head and neck muscle structure along with the use of tissue depth markers as guides. Image used with permission from Richard Neave and the University of Manchester.

Technological advances – Digital facial depiction from skeletal remains (Richard III)

This series of images showcases the digital 3D method of facial depiction from human remains developed by Professor Caroline Wilkinson. This technique follows the Manchester method and employs digital sculpting software and a haptic interface. The image shows the face of King Richard III, built from computed tomography (CT) data of the skeletal remains. © Professor Caroline Wilkinson (University of Dundee) and the Richard III Society.

Austria - Vienna

Vienna. XXth International Conference of the Red Cross. Vote during the last plenary session. From 27 September to 9 October 1965.

1965-10 © Fédération / SCHIKOLA, Gustav

South Africa

The Boer War 1899-1902. Group Portrait.

© ICRC archives (ARR)

Spain - Barcelona

Spanish civil war, 1936-1939. Barcelona. People queuing in front of the delegation to fill in requests.

© ICRC

Spain - Madrid

Spanish civil war, 1936-1939. Madrid. The Red Cross Central Hospital.

1937 © CR Espagne

Nigeria - Udo

Biafra conflict. Udo, Swedish Red Cross distribution center. Before a food distribution.

© ICRC / VATERLAUS, Max

Afghanistan - Khyber Pass

Khyber Pass. Convoy of the ICRC from Peshawar to Jalalabad. Convoy of 22 trucks carrying 14 tons of flour each.

1994-05-19 © ICRC / GASSMANN, Thierry

Somalia - Mogadishu

Mogadishu. Internally displaced persons receive food from the ICRC in a joint operation with the Somali Red Crescent.

ICRC website, Operational Update, 31/08/2012

Somalis have continued to suffer the consequences of major food insecurity and conflict over the first half of 2012. Despite the difficult situation, the ICRC has delivered food to 1.4 million people in the country since the beginning of the year.

2012-07 © ICRC / WARSAME, Omar B.

Somalia - Bossasso prison

Bossasso prison. An ICRC delegate is conducting an interview without witness with a detainee.

These interviews allow the ICRC to assess the detention conditions. The ICRC has visited places of detention in Somalia since 2012.

2014-11-05 © ICRC / YAZDI, Pedram

Somalia - Mogadishu

Mogadishu. Internally displaced persons camp. 800,000 people - refugees and displaced persons - are living in huts and ruined buildings in the capital.

2006-12-03 © ICRC / SCHAEFFER, Benoît

Afghanistan

James Nachtwey photographed detainees held by the Afghan authorities like the man in this photo. Sasha, an ICRC interpreter based in Kabul, accompanied him. Afterwards, Sasha spoke of what he had learnt:

"I discovered that many of them had held on to their sense of themselves, that they had emerged intact from some very difficult situations. Sometimes, I ask myself: 'In a situation like theirs, would I have done as well?' How they managed to preserve their dignity: this is the astonishing thing for me."

2009-03, © ICRC/VII / NACHTWEY, James

Fundamental Principles

Fundamental principles of the Red Cross adopted unanimously by the XXth international conference of the Red Cross in Vienna, October 1965.

1965-10 © ICRC archives (ARR)

Afghanistan - Kabul

Kabul. Women and children attending a course on mine awareness.

ICRC provides local mine safety training classes in schools, clinics and mosques throughout Afghanistan. The training courses are provided for men, women and children alike so that Afghans have a clear knowledge of what to avoid in the field.

2006-09-11 © ICRC / AHAD, Zalmaï

Anindya Raychaudhuri, University of St Andrews

Anindya Raychaudhuri is working on the way nostalgia is used by diasporic communities to create imaginary and real homes. He has written about the Spanish Civil War and the India/Pakistan partition and the cultural legacies of these wars. He co-hosts a podcast show, State of the Theory, and explores the issues raised by his research in stand-up comedy.