‘Little more…than of a Society in the Moon’ – Publicising the work of the Society of Arts

My  paper for the Institutions of Literature networks workshop is now available on their blog Click here


Royal Designers for Industry represented at the 1946 Britain Can Make It exhibition.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the 1946 Britain Can Make It exhibition the University of Brighton Design Archives has provided an online version of the catalogue. On behalf of the William Shipley Group for RSA History, I have provided this online resource on the RDIs represented at Britain Can Make It exhibition, to complement the digitised catalogue.

Talk: The Royal Designers for Industry and Liberty at Fashion and Textile Museum on 23rd October 2015

Liberty storeThe RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has a long association with Liberty London. Susan Bennett traces the influence of the RSA, the department store and its founder in sharing powerful ideas about design and cutting-edge research.

In 1883, Arthur Lasenby Liberty was elected a member of the then Society of Arts where he played an influential role in sharing ideas on contemporary design. Liberty was represented on the Society’s powerful Applied Art Section Committee, with G.F. Bodley, Walter Crane, Sir Thomas Wardle and Cyril Davenport, among others. The talk touches on Arthur Lasenby Liberty’s research into ‘The Industrial Arts and Manufactures of Japan’ (1890), ‘English Furniture’ (1900) and ‘Pewter and the Revival of its Use’, plus his contribution to the discussion of ‘The Design and Architectural Treatment of the Shop’ in 1913.

Liberty London has also collaborated with some of the RSA’s Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry including C.F. Voysey, Lucienne Day and Vivienne Westwood. The title ‘Royal Designer for Industry’ (RDI) is the highest accolade for designers in the UK and is awarded annually by the RSA to designers of all disciplines who have achieved ‘sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value and significant benefit to society. Lucienne Day was approached by Liberty’s to design a linen dress fabric to celebrate the Queen’s coronation in 1953 – Tudor (also known as Coronation) Rose and the following year Liberty’s commissioned the furnishing fabric design ‘Fritillary’. The talk will be illustrated with examples of the RDI designs that have featured in the store.

Talk is free but requires entrance ticket to exhibition. http://www.ftmlondon.org/ftm-whats-on/royal-designers-for-industry-liberty/

Almost Forgotten: The International Exhibition of 1862 – just published

Very pleased to see the papers from the WSG 2012 conference published thanks to the Decorative Arts Society and to the Royal Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Giles Waterfield for their generous financial support.    203 pages with many colour illustrations. Copies can be obtained for £25 from Richard Dennis Publications, The New Chapel, Shepton Beauchamp, Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0JT. Tel: 01460 240044 / email: books@richarddennispublications.com

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