Allan Walton Fabrics Duncan Grant
Flowers and Leaves
Allan Walton Fabrics, English, Flowers and Leaves, 1936, Cotton; cut warp pile, hand screenprinted; 279.4 cm (110 inches) (length), Mary B. Jackson Fund 1993.024
Duncan Grant, a Bloomsbury Group artist, began designing textiles when he was a codirector of the Omega Workshops (1913-1919) with Vanessa Bell and Roger Fry. Both Grant and Bell were successful in translating their Post-Impressionist painting style to fabrics. The technique of screen printing brought new artistic expression to the textile industry, where it was known as the “artist’s medium.” It offered manufacturers an opportunity to produce limited runs of artist-designed textiles without incurring the expense of engraved roller printing or blockprinting. Allan Walton Textiles was among several English companies that embraced the new technique and took risks in producing designs that might not become popular on a massive scale. Flowers and Leaves was originally commissioned for Cunard’s ocean liner RMS Queen Mary, but it was rejected in favor of a textile that complemented the ship’s Art Deco interior.