I love textiles, their feel and colour, their mood enhancing and aesthetic properties.
The importance of textiles to human beings is nearly as old as Homo Sapiens itself. Once the art of weaving had been discovered it was only a matter of time before the introduction of art into weaving. Before long, embellishments such as embroidery, painting and printing became a natural extension to the basic technique of making cloth.
Like all art and craft, there are examples which are deemed high or low, exclusive or populist. I believe examples from all these mediums, with thoughtful selection, can be reappraised and have a place for us to enjoy as art in our homes today.
The auction ‘Textiles as Art’, hosted with Lyon & Turnbull, consists of examples all selected by myself and includes pieces from the 1840s to the beginning of this, the 21st century. I have chosen works of popular art such as Berlin work, Folk art, and machine woven, embroidered and printed textiles, but also handmade ones such as loomed and printed textiles by William Morris and embroideries designed by Robert Lorimer, May Morris and the artists of the Glasgow School.
Many of my choices are, inevitably, from the field with which I am usually associated, The Art & Design Movements of the 19th & 20th centuries. Perhaps more of a surprise will be the modernist embroideries, the naive and folk art pieces, ranging from a First World War handkerchief to a 1960s collage of an imagined Victorian interior and an African print of telephones from the 1980s.
I have also found the domestic embroideries of the 1930s, beach and village scenes and modernist floral designs irresistible and evocative of a lost and charming world. The machine stitched embroideries from the 1960s herald new designs and techniques for the modern era.
All of these types do and have, happily coexisted in my own home alongside furniture by Godwin, Burges, Mackintosh, Voysey et al collected primarily for my own enjoyment but (nearly!) always admired by friends and visitors.
I hope that you too, will appreciate and enjoy this selection.
Paul Reeves. February 2017.
With my special thanks to Dr. Lynn Hulse, Barley Roscoe and Hannah Whyman.