Friday, October 25, 2019

Further into the past

Space, time and wallpaper, 2

If the Architectural Review was often looking forward, in January 1947 it also allowed itself a backward glance. That month marked the magazine’s 50th anniversary. A long article summarizes its editorial approach throughout this period, and then switches its gaze forward to how it might look at things in the new half century. Over those first 50 years, the Archie Rev had welcomed the opportunities provided by new technologies, chronicled the rise of modern design, and praised the work of pioneers such as Perret, Loos, and Le Corbusier. But it had also paid tribute to the great figures who were in a different tradition: Gothic revival architects or Cuthbert Brodrick – or William Morris.

So it is that this issue of the magazine has a William Morris wallpaper on the cover – or at least one produced by the Arts and Crafts leader’s firm, Morris, Marshall and Faulkner; the actual designer of the paper was Morris’s friend Philip Webb. After all, as the caption to the cover points out, it was high time in 1947, that Morris’s firm became the subject of proper historical research, and the magazine contributes to this with an article on the firm’s work at St James’s Palace. This very paper, in fact, was produced, in olive green and gold, for the Armoury at the palace. Often looking to the future, sometimes shocking the bourgeoisie, but generally offering hope, the Architectural Review could also pay tribute to tradition.

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