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THE WARDLE PATTERN BOOKS REVEALED

About the Project

The Wardle Pattern Books were presented to the Whitworth Art Gallery in 1962.  There are eleven books in the group containing more than 1700 pages of pattern material.  They are famed for their association with the designs of William Morris and Liberty's, but they also contain a great deal of information about Thomas Wardle's own work, and about British printed textile design in general during the period of the Arts and Crafts Movement.  The project to research the content of the pattern books and put them online has offered new insights into the working processes of designers, manufacturers and retailers in the late 19th century.  It has been funded through the MLA Designation Challenge Fund's 'Opening Up Collections' strand.


Thomas Wardle was a silk dyer who owned two print works at Leek in Staffordshire by the 1880s.  William Morris collaborated with Wardle on the development of some of his best known designs for printed textiles.  Thomas Wardle & Co sold textiles marketed as 'Wardle Art Fabrics' to shops such as Liberty's and Heal's, and purchased patterns from the leading designers of the day, including Walter Crane, Lewis Foreman Day, Lindsay Butterfield, and C.F.A. Voysey.

You can explore the pattern books page by page, in a format that offers full transcriptions of their contents, or simply browse them visually using an interactive flash package that allows you to 'turn the pages'.

There is also a series of related essays that will tell you more about the design, manufacture and consumption of printed textiles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

More information on the books can be found by using the navigation options to left.

The Pattern Book Collections

Selecting the options below makes it is possible to view the Wardle Pattern Books using specially designed web pages directly from the entries wholly contained with the galleries online collections database.

Access

The books themselves are in a fragile condition but for those seeking information which cannot be accessed via the website, an appointment can be made with the curator on 0161 275 7479.  Normal access is Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, and four weeks' notice is preferred.

Essays

Below is also a series of related essays that will tell you more about the design, manufacture and consumption of printed textiles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Please select any of the links to find out more information: