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The Art of Wallpaper – Online Autumn Lecture Series

12 Nov — 12 Nov 2024

Fair and Beautiful to Behold: Ecclesiastical Embroideries, by Mary Schoeser

This lecture discusses the neo-Gothic in relation to textiles and wallpapers and focuses on ecclesiastical embroideries.

Date and time: Tue, 12 Nov 2024 19:00 – 20:30 GMT

Location: Online

This talk is part of the Online Autumn Lecture Series 2024 called Crossing boundaries: Victorian art, design and architecture. Follow this link to book all of the lectures.

We’re used to the idea of Victorian architecture, art and design as separate disciplines, with their own historians. But that seriously misrepresents the way that many nineteenth-century architects and designers thought and practised. They conceived of the fine and decorative arts as part of an architectural whole – a total work of art. Our seven expert speakers will boldly break down disciplinary boundaries in a discussion of the use of colour and texture across the whole range of Victorian design and analyses of the important roles played by mosaic, stained glass, embroidery and three-dimensional wall coverings. Among the highlights are lectures on two great designers who sought in very different ways to fuse architecture with decoration and the fine arts – Owen Jones and Alfred Stevens, both the subjects of major new books by our speakers.

‘Fair and Beautiful to Behold’

This is a lecture on the neo-Gothic in relation to textiles and wallpapers, which focuses on ecclesiastical embroideries (and some interiors) in particular. It’s called ‘Fair and Beautiful to Behold’ after a quotation from G.E. Street. It spills into the Edwardian period to include a Pankhurst banner and Ann Macbeth frontal, to bring out the double meaning of ‘fair’ (in social/political terms).

As a predominantly freelance historian since 1991, Mary Schoeser MA FRSA has written about 200 diverse publications (books, chapters and magazine articles), which include Silk (Yale University Press, 2007), Textiles: The Art of Mankind (Thames & Hudson, 2012 and 2013) and The Art of Wallpaper: Morris & Co. in Context (ACC Art Books, 2022 and 2024). For nine years in the 1980s the Archivist for Warner & Sons and thereafter an archive consultant to numerous firms including Laura Ashley, Liberty, Orla Keily and Sanderson, her knowledge of British manufacturers extends to a sound understanding of textile and wallpaper production itself. This has facilitated restoration work with English Heritage, the National Trust and other historic property owners. She is Patron of the Bernat Klein Foundation and also of the School of Textiles, Coggeshall.

All attendees will be sent a recording of the talk.

This event helps raise funds for The Victorian Society – the only charity dedicated to fighting for our Victorian and Edwardian heritage. Funds raised from events and memberships allow us to employ expert caseworkers to reply to thousands of planning applications a year in our role as a statutory consultee in the planning system.

We help tackle the climate emergency by campaigning for the sensitive reuse of historic buildings to generate much lower carbon emissions than demolition and rebuild. Join us today and safeguard our unique cultural heritage for future generations! For further information, click here.

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