> Keren Protheroe

PhD Researcher, Kingston University, 2007 - 2010

Bloom and Blotch: The Floral Print and Modernity in the Textile Designs of Winifred Mold and Minnie McLeish, 1910-1930

 As the early European Modernist avant-garde sought to repress the decorative in domestic design, allegiance to the sensuality and symbolism of ornamental pattern triggered a sense of ambivalence amongst many English design reformers. Minnie McLeish and Silver Studio designer Winifred Mold designed ornamental patterns for England’s leading mass-market textile manufacturers. This project examines their work of between 1910 and 1930. It asks to what extent their Orientalist and eighteenth century-inspired designs exemplify a quintessentially English and essentially ‘modern’ early twentieth century paradigm.

Using a combination of women’s history and design history methodologies the project maps the hierarchy of contradictory ideas which informed the designers’ choice of motif and trope. As progenies of nineteenth-century design education reform both women designed principally for industrial rather than craft production yet, their ‘everyday’ design was conversant with progressive ideas fuelling Post-Impressionist painting and the artist- crafts in Continental Europe.