October 22, 2018

Repeat pattern papers are the point at which our love for illustration, design and ornament combine. With a rich history, pattern papers are used for everything from endpapers, book covers, packaging and stationery to box linings, collage and wall paper. During the 1920s pattern papers were a distinctive product of the Curwen Press with designs by Enid Marx, Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden. Paul Nash coined the phrase ‘pattern paper’ to distinguish these litho-printed sheets from other decorative papers, usually used as endpapers, and made by marbling, combing and hand-block printing.


In the introduction to the Specimen Book of Curwen Pattern Papers, 1928, Paul Nash describes the papers as “a humble part of the endless contribution to decoration which forms one of the most absorbing studies in the history of aesthetics”. He concludes his introduction, “Every article, from the Shopman’s showcard to a motor-car, must have economy and beauty of form. It is a lesson we are learning very late, but if we can learn it intelligently, and not like parrots, we may yet recapture what has been long list with us, a pride in style.”

We love the idea of carrying on this tradition. Our Comet pattern paper is based on a single wood engraving by Jonathan, repeated to create the intricate design. Our ambition is to apply the pattern to a range of household products -  so far we have produced ceramics, stationery boxes, sketch books, fabrics, pegs and even jam pot covers. And, of course, to develop more patterns….


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