In 1934, Harrods hosted an exhibition called Modern Art for the Table featuring some of the greatest names of British art including Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Laura Knight and Duncan Grant. Yet the display was not of their paintings but tea services, vases and wine glasses.
Towner celebrates the anniversary of this exhibition with a display of original objects from the Harrods exhibition, an examination of Ravilious at Wedgwood and a wider survey of artists working in British industry during the 20th century. The exhibition draws from the Towner’s extensive collection with rarely seen loans from private and public collections.
Some of the highlights of Designing the Everyday include a rug produced by Frederick Etchells for the Omega Workshop in 1913, a Shell poster of Britain’s Landmarks by Edward Bawden, silk scarves by Graham Sutherland and Ivon Hitchens produced for Zika Ascher studios as well as the contemporary designs for the home by Angie Lewin, Mark Hearld and the company St. Jude’s.
Nathaniel Hepburn, Curator for Designing the Everyday, says, “The ceramic tableware that Eric Ravilious produced for Wedgwood are some of the most collectable design icons of the 20th century, and the extensive collection at Towner allows us to position this work in an art historic context alongside equally remarkable stories of artists collaborating with industrial designers.”
At the exhibition, there will be an opportunity to relax in chairs upholstered in artist-designed fabrics to peruse a library of books relating to the exhibition before spending time in the Towner shop where many of the products will be available.
Designing the Everyday is supported by St Jude’s.