Inventors of Tradition

The Stoddard Design Library, part of the Glasgow School of Art Library’s Special Collections, features prominently in the new book ‘Inventors of Tradition‘ by Beca Lipscombe and Lucy McKenzie, published by Walther Konig. At the intersection between art, design and social history, The Inventors of Tradition is a subjective study of the history of the Scottish textiles industry since the 1930s. It brings together samples of world-class design through the archive material of individuals and companies.
For the publication and accompanying exhibition, Beca and Lucy selected items from the Stoddard Design Library, the in-house library of carpet manufacturers James Templeton and A. F. Stoddard. It was used to inspire the company’s designers, or to enable them to source motifs that could then be incorporated into their own textile designs. The library was often the starting point in the design process, providing initial ideas for subsequently developed designs. The library is a rich source of material in the areas of carpet design, textiles, ornament, flat pattern, and textile interiors. It was amassed from the mid-19th century right up to the early 21st century.

Templeton’s and Stoddard’s were alive to contemporary continental developments in art and design, and a good proportion of their library material, especially from the 1880s to the 1930s, was acquired from abroad. The Stoddard Design Library includes volumes from the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Finland, China, Japan and India. Many of the volumes are now extremely rare, and often unique. Particular highlights include 11 volumes in pochoir by Emile-Allain Seguy, of which the only comparable collection internationally resides at Princeton.

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