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If you love interiors, fabric, design and beautiful things, you’ll love seeing Sanderson’s luxury wallpapers, textiles and pattern books from the archives. I loved this exhibition and my head is still spinning from all the gorgeous prints. My favourite bits included the wallpaper that looked like embossed leather and the cheerful adverts featuring bold clashing 60’s and 70s floral interiors.
Very Sanderson includes many large, beautiful, colourful samples which embrace every design style since Victorian times. It’s fascinating to see how Sanderson revive and redesign classic prints – the Rose and Peony wallpaper was designed in 1914 and you can still buy it today.
The exhibition really only scratches the surface of Sanderson’s collection; the thick log books and design ledgers hint at thousands of designs which are equally exquisite as the work on display but didn’t make the final show.
One of the ways Sanderson have kept their place as a leading name in decoration is by working with many leading designers over the last 150 years. As well as owning William Morris designs, Sanderson have worked with the Omega Workshops, Lucienne Day, Zandra Rhodes and are currently collaborating with contemporary artist Nina Saunders.
Sanderson’s designs were not exclusive to posh houses, Sanderson is sold on the high street. If you’ve got a pair of vintage floral curtains it might be worth having a gentle probe into the hems to see if there’s a manufacturers name printed on the selvage (I’ve got my mum’s childhood bedroom curtains from Sanderson hanging up in my little craft room).
This exhibition made me desperate to go and play in their archives. Fortunately they’ve anticipated this and there’s a video at the end with footage of the archive, the wallpaper printing machines in the factory and interviews with curator Mary Schoeser and top Sanderson designers.
If you have ambitious redecoration plans for your home after a trip to the Sanderson exhibition, pop along to the Sanderson showroom at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour (a large shopping centre entirely devoted to glamorous designer furnishing shops) where you’ll find their latest collections and re-issued prints from the last 150 years.
Very Sanderson: 150 Years of English Decoration at the Fashion and Textile Museum 19 March – 13 June. £6.50 (£3.50 concessions). www.ftmlondon.org