25 March 2015 -

Dr Helena Britt: Design History Society Research Grant 2014 Report
Detail of plate from Relais, 1930: quinze planches donnant quarante-deux motifs décoratifs, Edouard Benedictus, Paris, Éditions Vincent, Fréal et Cie, 1931. Courtesy of The Glasgow School of Art Library, Special Collections, Stoddard Design Library,

The DHS Grant permitted research continuation, conference attendance and paper presentation surrounding the carpet manufacturers Stoddard Templeton. This name denotes a group of Scottish companies synonymous with the formation and development of the carpet industry in the United Kingdom (UK). The foundations of James Templeton & Co and the patenting of a chenille making process pioneered the mechanisation of carpet manufacturing from 1839. In 1862, the American Arthur Francis Stoddard formed Glenpatrick Carpet Mills and then A F Stoddard & Co. Existing for over 160 years, Stoddard Templeton designed and manufactured carpets for an array of highly prestigious Royal occasions and residencies. They produced for events such as the Great Exhibition of 1851 and for the 1951 Festival of Britain. The interiors of Glasgow Cathedral, the Scottish Parliament and the White House, have at one time featured Stoddard Templeton carpets. The companies designed and manufactured for ocean liners including the Titanic and Queen Mary, for hotels, bars, restaurants, offices and other contract interiors throughout the world. An abundance of domestic designs were created which carpeted millions of homes. Throughout their individual and collective existence, to assist expansion, a number of subsidiary companies were purchased. Regrettably, in the latter half of the twentieth century interior trends and consumer preference for other flooring surfaces, coupled with competition from overseas, led to a decline in UK carpet manufacturing. The closure of the remaining company, Stoddard International PLC in 2005 marked the poignant demise of the West of Scotland carpet industry.

Photograph of Tomato Plant Design carpet sample, Glasgow, James Templeton & Co, date unknown. Courtesy of The Glasgow School of Art, Archives & Collections Centre,

Previous research titled Interwoven Connections: The Stoddard Templeton Design Studio and Design Library, 1845-2005 focused on the Stoddard Design Library now held by The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) Library. The Design Library was the in-house resource used within the Stoddard Templeton design studios, comprising some 670 items including books, limited edition portfolios, catalogues and magazines collected from around the world. The research undertaken using the DHS Grant included visits to the Stoddard Templeton Collection, University of Glasgow Archive Services, analysis of previously collected archival and oral history interview data and the study of a group of Stoddard Templeton carpets held by the Archives & Collection Centre, GSA. Insights were revealed surrounding Stoddard Templeton design processes, impact of production method upon designing and utilisation of inspirational reference material in the creative process. In certain instances previously unknown dates of design production have been identified, examples of design adaptation and reproduction have been explicated (figures 1 and 2). Findings were disseminated at the conference How Do We Study Objects? Analyses in Artefact Studies, House of Science and Letters, Helsinki, 8th – 9th May 2014 through the presentation 'Delving into the Pile: Analysing Historical Stoddard Templeton Carpets for Textile Design Process Explication'. The National Archives hold Stoddard Templeton items within their Board of Trade, patented design listings. The remaining DHS funding will be used to travel to view these items, which will provide further insight into designs and processes used between 1849-1894. A journal article will be compiled and submitted which discusses aspects of the investigation.

Dr Helena Britt
Department of Fashion & Textiles, The Glasgow School of Art


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