The Sanderson look

Flicking through Sanderson: The Essence of English Decoration is like whizzing through a potted history of English decorative arts. Marking the wallpaper and textile manufacturer’s 150th anniversary, the book (by Mary Schoeser) delves into the Sanderson archives to present reams of design, from Arts and Crafts and Art Deco to 1980s country-house style and the interiors of the Noughties.

Accompanying the exhibition Very Sanderson: 150 years of English Decoration at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, the publication charts the company’s development, starting with Arthur Sanderson’s humble beginnings in 1860, importing French wallpapers from his Islington base in London, through to the company’s expansion into manufacturing and textiles and its current, contemporary incarnation.

In addition to the intricate and colourful motifs that the company is best known for, the book and exhibition offer an amusing glimpse into the interiors of yesteryear through archive advertising campaigns. In one image from Verey Sanderson, a 1970s-era Petula Clark reclines in her Sanderson-clad Switzerland retreat, while the ’What is the Sanderson Look?’ campaign includes a 1960s ad featuring a decidedly independent-looking woman surrounded by her pink and green Sanderson bedroom walls – a look that has an enduring appeal in our retro-inspired present.
Sanderson is also launching a 150 Years Collection at London Design Week later this month, with designs dating from the late 19th century to the 1970s, each reflecting the style of the era in which it was launched. The collection includes work by Robert Nicolson, CFA Voysey, Pat Albeck and William Turner.

Very Sanderson: 150 Years of English Decoration opens at the Fashion and Textile Museum, Bermondsey Street, London SE1, on 19 March. Sanderson: The Essence of English Decoration, by Mary Schoeser, is published by Thames & Hudson on 5 April, priced £18.95

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