REPEAT PATTERN PAPERS

Repeat pattern papers are the point at which our love for illustration, design and ornament combine. We love to see them used as endpapers, covers and linings, are intrigued by their historical use and mid-century heyday, and want to extend their use across a new range of artefacts.

We offer pattern papers in three ways:

Bespoke/new commissions

We will design a new pattern based on a single wood-engraved unit, to your specific requirements for use on things like papers, book covers, textiles or packaging, provided as digital or mechanical artwork;

Library

We have a library of patterns that we use and in some circumstances we can license these for use;

Printed sheets & samples

We have a small range (but which will grow) of litho printed sheets for sale, for which there is a small sample swatch book available.

Do sign up for our newsletter to hear when we add new designs or papers and for the latest developments at Starch Green.


Stacks Image 255

A Specimen Book of Curwen Pattern Papers, 1928

Stacks Image 256

Ravilious Orange Judd Street Gallery

Stacks Image 257

Ravilious for Curwen 1927

Stacks Image 258

King Penguins and endpaper from ‘Contact Book’ 1946

Stacks Image 259

Design series published by Antique Collector’s Club

Stacks Image 260

Wallpapers by Edward Bawden and book ‘The Wood Engravings of Tirzah Ravilious’



A bit of history about repeat pattern papers

Repeat pattern papers are the point at which our love for illustration, design and ornament combine. With a rich history, pattern papers are used for everything from endpapers, book covers, packaging and stationery to box linings, collage and wall paper. During the 1920s pattern papers were a distinctive product of the Curwen Press with designs by Enid Marx, Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden. Paul Nash coined the phrase ‘pattern paper’ to distinguish these litho-printed sheets from other decorative papers, usually used as endpapers, and made by marbling, combing and hand-block printing. The intrinsic delight in the pattern papers brings to life Harold Curwen’s rallying cry in his 1920 leaflet for the Curwen Press, ‘Get the spirit of joy into your printed things!’

In the introduction to the Specimen Book of Curwen Pattern Papers, 1928, Paul Nash describes the papers as “a humble part of the endless contribution to decoration which forms one of the most absorbing studies in the history of aesthetics”. He concludes his introduction, “Every article, from the Shopman’s showcard to a motor-car, must have economy and beauty of form. It is a lesson we are learning very late, but if we can learn it intelligently, and not like parrots, we may yet recapture what has been long list with us, a pride in style.”

Other designers and publishers produced pattern papers throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Patterns were used widely on King Penguins, Penguin Scores and Picture Puffins.

In 1986 the V&A published ‘The Victoria and Albert Colour Books’ featuring patterns and decorations from their collections, including ‘Patterns for Papers’. Designed by Carroll, Dempsey and Thirkell and using a Paul Nash paper design for the cover and endpapers, it is as distinctive as it is lovely.

The tradition of pattern papers, designed for commercial reproduction, is enjoying something of a revival. The current ‘Design’ series published by the Antique Collector’s Club has again used the pattern paper theme for it’s covers with titles including ‘Paul Nash and John Nash’, ‘Festival of Britain’ and ‘Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious’.

Our ambition is to take the concept of pattern paper and apply it to a range of home applications - boxes, lampshades, fabrics, wallpaper, ceramics, much in the tradition of Bawden with his wallpapers and Tirzah Ravilious who applied designs to lampshades. Recently spotted in the Tate is a mug, sketchbook and bag using the design of an Enid Marx paper. Yum.