In focus: The GP & J Baker archives
The creativity demonstrated by our brands never ceases to surprise and delight us, and each season we are left wondering where the inspiration for such incredible designs could have come from. Of course, the answer is often that they simply spring to life from an idea that the designer had, or a trip that they went on, or a memory from childhood. However, for a brand with such heritage as GP & J Baker, there is always another source of ideas – its extensive but carefully curated archives.
The GP and J Baker archive dates back to the early 20th century, when brothers George Percival and James Baker began collecting fabrics and wall coverings, and today represents the largest privately owned textile archive in the world. The archive includes a breathtakingly diverse selection of samples originating from countries across the globe, from Chinese wallpapers and Peruvian tunics to Turkish velvets and Indonesian batiks. As well as fabrics, there are also over a hundred volumes of original pattern books, some of which date back as far as the 18th century. Vellum-bound and truly remarkable, this collection of swatches and sketches provides a unique insight into design trends from history.
This enviable treasure trove is in constant use by GP & J Baker’s design team, with designers delving into its depths to create iconic prints such as its ethereal Nympheus, which is available in a decadent velvet, a linen and a wallpaper. The Magnolia wall covering was also developed with a little help from the archives, its stunning large-scale design and intricate details making it one of our most beloved designs.
One of the most wonderful things we learned about the GP & J Baker archives is how little of it has been mined so far. The collection is so rich with untapped potential, that we can’t help but feel excited about what will emerge next from the GP & J Baker studio; the possibilities are endless.
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