Eleanor Pritchard’s textiles nod to British modernism and local craft. Thanks to a new upholstery line, she’s poised to become an industry name.
Of all the mid-century modern variants, British is probably the least well known: Americans have rediscovered the Eameses; the Scandinavians know their Aaltos.
Eleanor Pritchard, a contemporary English textile designer, knows her Enid Marx, who designed the seat fabrics for London’s public transportation lines, and Jack Pritchard (no relation), the Isokon director who produced the iconic Penguin Donkey bookcase. And all the other key figures of British modernism—whose greatest hour was the 1951 Festival of Britain, a national exhibition of the arts and sciences and of applied design—are familiar heroes. “It was incredibly optimistic,” she says of the era. “The idea that good design would make people’s lives better.”
Pritchard is bringing that tradition of pride and craft, as well as a modern sensibility, to her own original textiles: wool blankets, cushions, scarves, and, most recently, upholstery fabrics, with simple, subtle geometrics and a sure sense of color.
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