The Art of John Piper in Fabric and Textiles.

Leave a comment


John Piper (1903–1992) is one of the most significant British artists of the twentieth-century.   An official war artist during the 2nd world war, he came to prominence soon after, known for paintings, tapestries and designing large scale glass windows, such as those in Liverpool and Coventry Cathedrals.


The ‘rerados’ tapestry in Chichester Cathedral 1966


Many of his bold designs were printed on textiles making his work more accessible to ordinary people by bringing his art in the home for a relatively cheap price.



Chiesa della Salute (1959) one of Piper’s Venice scenes produced as furnishing fabric, the curtain below showing how well the repeat blocks of his design work.



He designed fabric for many well know textile companies, this is ‘stones of bath’ for Arthur Sanderson, 1960.


foliate heads

‘Foliate Head’s produced by David Whitehead in  1954


In an exhibition in 2016 at Pallant House Chichester,  Piper’s ‘Abstract Painting’ of 1935,  shows the original oil painting  alongside the screen print fabric made by the textile manufacturer, David Whitehead Ltd. in 1955

Interesting article in The Independent in 2016 by Claudia Pritchard, ‘How John Piper ..changed post war Britain’

Tate Liverpool have a John Piper exhibition from 17th November 2017 – 18th March 2018




Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Grautex. Mid-Century Danish Textiles



Grautex fabrics were a leading textile company  in the 1950’s through to the 1970’s. They were based in Copenhagen, Denmark and used many well known artists and designers of the time such as  Joan Nicola Wood,  Kirtsen Romer and Ronald Hansen who produced art prints such as pine trees ( below) and beech trees panels.


Ronald Hansen –  pine trees


Arne Emil Jacobsen, meadow. 1951

‘Hyacinth Glasses’ Printed Cotton Panel Designed
by Arne Jacobsen for Grautex Fabrics  1950



‘continental flower squares’ 1951


Joan Nicola Wood ‘carnival’


Kirsten Romer ‘skrapper’




Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Toile de Jouy Fabric

Leave a comment

Toile prints were originally produced in Ireland in the mid-18th Century and quickly became popular in Britain and France. The name Toile de Jouy originated in France in the late 18th century and means “cloth from Jouy”, a town near Paris.

Christophe-Phillipe Oberkampf set up business in Jouy-en-Josas outside Paris in 1759, where he joined with engraver and designer Jean Baptiste Huet to design idyllic pastoral scenes for their fabrics.

The designs on toile de jouy vary greatly, but they all have detailed scenes scattered over the fabric. Originally the scenes were carved on woodblocks or engraved on copper then printed in only one colour (often red, black, or blue) on to a white or cream background.


Les Traveaux de la Manufacture (The Activities of the Factory), 1783–84, designed by Jean-Baptiste Huet



Toile fabrics are a fascinating record of the times both past and present, often depicted historical events, such as the pattern above c. 1784 based on two etching made shorly after the Montgolfier brothers successful ascent in hydrogen-filled hot air balloons


Detail from a more modern toile fabric  by Ashley Wilde.



Even more recently, Mike Diamond from the Beastie Boys designed Brooklyn Toile (above) as a wallpaper. Together with designer Vincent J. Ficarra he created a toile depicting his favorite Brooklyn scenes.

toile de jouy ALL

 Toile has come to be used for interiors, both wallpaper and soft furnishings in this vibrant room.


Here Toile de Jouy is being used for clothing  in this 1950’s style Bernie Dexter dress.




Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Artist Textiles.

1 Comment


The early 20th century saw the rise of artists having their designs  printed on fabric to be used in the house or as pieces of clothing. This meant that their art was accessible to the masses rather than being owned by galleries or the very rich. After the war a movement called ‘a masterpiece in every home’ became popular and saw many great artists such as Salvador Dali, Joan Miro and John Piper having their designs printed and used widely.


Rare vintage 1920’s cotton fabric by french textile artist Raoul Dufy who was one of the first to have his designs printed on cotton fabric. This piece was originally used as a pair of curtains.


This wonderful Picasso print cotton fabric made into 1950’s style dress. By the 1960’s  Picasso was allowing many of his art work to be printed on to dress fabric, he apparently wouldn’t allow his work to be used for sofas or chairs “Picasso may be leaned against, not sat on” the curator of the 2014 exhibition of textile art  was quoted as saying.


The piece above printed on soft rayon material, originally curtains is now being made into a skirt.


Northern Cathedral – a 1960’s work  by John Piper screen printed on  cotton fabric.






Follow my blog with Bloglovin