Mid-Century Modern Fabrics at Elmet Farmhouse
Elmet Farmhouse is full of surprises. That’s why our guests enjoy it so much, because every room contains unexpected design delights. Wherever you go, there are inspiring things to look at, not just in the living room but the bedrooms and bathrooms as well.
An intriguing mixture of ancient and modern, the interiors blend original 18th century features with choice vintage and contemporary design. A holiday cottage like no other, Elmet Farmhouse is wonderfully quirky and totally unique.
One of the most popular features are the striking mid-century modern vintage fabrics used throughout the farmhouse for curtains, cushions and textile hangings. Specially chosen by design historian Lesley Jackson, who decorated and ‘curated’ the interiors, they date from the 1950s and 60s, an extremely rich period for textile design.
Highlights include the magnificent Edinburgh Weavers curtains and cushions in the living room, screen-printed with an arresting large-scale design called Kalabu, dating from the late 1960s. The heavy linen cloth was woven at Edinburgh Weavers’ mill in Carlisle and the fabric was printed in Lancaster by their sister company, Standfast Dyers and Printers, who are still going strong today.
Hanging on the wall in the lounge is a delightful stylised leaf-patterned fabric by Joan Charnley, a local designer who studied at Manchester School of Art and designed for Edinburgh Weavers. Hand screen-printed on rayon by the designer herself, it reflects the early post-war ‘Contemporary’ design aesthetic associated with Lucienne Day.
Upstairs in the front bedroom are some beautiful chintz curtains hand screen-printed by Hull Traders, an outstanding local company based less than 20 miles away at Trawden, near Colne. The pattern is called Rose Branch and was designed by Guy Irwin in 1958.
The deer and leaf-patterned printed fabric hanging on the wall in the front bedroom is by David Whitehead, another important Lancashire firm based not far away at Rawtenstall. Designed by Cawthra Mulock in 1955, it epitomises the vibrant colours and dynamic graphic style of the post-war era.
Elmet Farmhouse features two impressive ‘Textureprints’ by Hungarian-born textile designer Tibor Reich in the mid 1950s for his company Tibor Fabrics. A long length of Coral, a striking black and grey design with overlapping organic motifs, hangs in the attic stairwell. Tibor Reich is currently featured in an exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester until August 2016.
Many of the textile designers and manufacturers displayed in Elmet Farmhouse are featured in Lesley’s books on post-war textiles and design. You can peruse these publications in Elmet’s library and some are also available to buy.
20th Century Pattern Design: Textile and Wallpaper Pioneers by Lesley Jackson (Mitchell Beazley)
Alastair Morton and Edinburgh Weavers: Visionary Textiles and Modern Art by Lesley Jackson (V&A Publishing)
Shirley Craven and Hull Traders: Revolutionary Fabrics and Furniture 1957-1980 by Lesley Jackson (Antique Collectors’ Club)
Robin and Lucienne Day: Pioneers of Contemporary Design by Lesley Jackson (Mitchell Beazley)
© Text and images copyright Elmet Farmhouse