An exhibition display showing archival items relating to the Festival of Britain from the University of Brighton Design Archives

Design Archives materials on show as part of the Double Weave: Bourne and Allen’s Modernist Textiles exhibition at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft.

Two recently opened museum exhibitions feature material from the Design Archives, as part of our work to share our collections with public audiences.

Consultant design commissions for the GPO (General Post Office) by graphic designers FHK Henrion and HA Rothholz feature in the opening displays in a new poster gallery at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden.  Entitled How to Make a Poster, the exhibition documents the commissioning and design processes that generated the rich print culture and poster heritage of the twentieth century, of which London Transport’s posters are themselves a celebrated part. Henrion’s poster is accompanied by an early study showing the evolution of the design, while Rothholz’s is supported by correspondence that sheds light on the ways such posters were commissioned.  In both cases the archive material is a vivid insight into the administrative and creative processes that led to the final designs that communicated with huge public audiences and supported young designers amid the professionalisation of their field.

Meanwhile at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Ditchling, East Sussex, the current exhibition ‘Double Weave: Bourne and Allen’s Modernist Textiles documents the life and work of the Museum’s co-founder Hilary Bourne and her partner, Barbara Allen.  A collaborative, co-curation project including colleagues from the University of Brighton’s Centre for Design History, the exhibition features a vitrine of material documenting the Festival of Britain (1951), selected by the Design Archives team from the Design Council, FHK Henrion, HA Rothholz and James Gardner archives. Among other high profile commissions, Bourne and Allen’s textiles featured in the Royal Festival Hall, one of the lasting legacies of the Festival.

‘How to Make a Poster’ is at the London Transport Museum until spring 2025, while ‘Double Weave: Bourne and Lewis’s Modernist Textiles’ is at the Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft until 14 April 2024.