The GP & J Baker archive is believed to be one of the largest privately owned textile archives in the world. It consists of a spectacular range of documents that has provided inspiration for the design studio since the company was founded by George Percival and James Baker, who were the first to collect documents for the archive. Items held in the archive are amazingly diverse, ranging from Chinese wallpapers, clothing, church vestments and Peruvian tunics to quilts and curtains. Italian and Turkish velvets, beautiful Indian prints, French toiles, Indonesian batiks, early English glazed chintz prints and Art Nouveau original paintings make up this collection, which has something from every century and from half the world.
The oldest pieces in the collection are Peruvian, one of which dates back to around 200 BC. Other pieces date back to around the 14th century.These beautiful geometric designs still demonstrate the same clear bold colors after 500 years.
More than one hundred volumes of pattern books in the archive contain thousands of samples and designs from the 18th and 19th centuries. These large vellum-bound books were acquired by George Percival when he bought the Swaisland Printworks, home to the leading British calico printer of the early Victorian era. They provide extraordinary insight into all the major trends of the 1800s and are regarded as ‘a reliable history of design and printing in England.’
All of our designers, especially in the GP & J Baker studio, make constant use of the archive. From this treasure trove has come such stunning large scale prints as ‘Nympheus’ and ‘Magnolia’ as well as the more delicate ‘Oriental Bird’ and ‘Peony and Blossom.’ A Regency pattern book provided the design for the elegant silk ‘Perandor Damask,’ which was also translated into a dramatic wallpaper.
To date only a fraction of this resource has been explored which means that the GP & J Baker studios will find inspiration from its rich heritage for decades to come. For more on GP & J Baker, visit http://www.gpjbaker.com .