Friday, 16 December 2011

Busy, busy, busy!

It's been an extremely busy few weeks in the Study Room at our new Collections Centre in Colindale. We've been pretty much fully booked up until Christmas, and the diary is already filling up for January and February 2012. Obviously the move has done nothing to dampen people's enthusiasm for our fantastic collections! Here is just a brief overview of some of the fascinating research taking place at MoDA at the moment:

Dr Sally Anne Huxtable, Northumbria University - is researching the influence of Indian design on British fashion and interiors,between 1900 and1947. Sally has been looking through the Silver Studio's Daybooks and photograph albums, analysing to what extent Indian design influences can be seen in the work produced by the Studio during the first half of the twentieth century.

Phillip Smith, 20th Century Specialist at Mallams Fine Art Auctioneers - Phillip has been researching an early twentieth century jug believed to be designed by Archibald Knox. As well as looking at designs for silverware contained within the collections here at MoDA, Phillip also looked at some of our early Liberty's catalogues.

Felicity Ford, Sonic Artist - Felicity has spent this month recording the responses of a variety of different people to the MoDA wallpapers she's selected for the  Sonic Wallpapers project.

Guilia Ricci, Artist-in-Residence based within Middlesex University's Fine Art Department - Guilia has been taking inspiration from designs produced by the Silver Studio during the 1930s, specifically abstract and geometric patterns. She will be introducing this work to Middlesex Fine Art students over the coming months, and we're looking forward to welcoming some of the students to the archive in 2012.

Peter Cope, Independent Researcher - Peter has been researching the early twentieth century designer Will Kidd, for an article for the forthcoming edition of the Wallpaper History Society Journal. Peter has found at least two fabric samples within MoDA's collections he believes were designed by Kidd, and we are looking forward to his research continuing in the new year.

Mary Burgoyne, PhD student, St Mary's University College, Twickenham - research for her doctoral thesis on the work of the author Joseph Conrad led Mary to MoDA and our diverse Magazines and Journals Collection. Within the collection is a copy of the The Daily Chronicle Christmas Supplement, 1906, which contains the first appearance in print of Conrad's short story 'The Brute'. Mary had spent the past year trying to locate a copy of this elusive supplement in various archives and collections, and it seems that not even the British Library hold a copy. We were thrilled to learn our own (extremely fragile!) copy appears to be so rare, and would like to thank Mary for letting us know, and for her patience: she originally contacted me back in April 2011 when we were preparing for our move to Colindale.

Husnara Bibi, Conservation trainee with the National Trust - Husnara is working on a project looking at the numerous wallpaper samples found at the National Trust's Birmingham back-to-back houses. She has over 100 samples of wallpaper to identify, with nothing more to go on than small and often damaged samples of the papers themselves. It was extremely exciting to see Husnara looking through some of our wallpaper collections and being able to identify a number of papers during her visit.

We've also welcomed several undergraduate students to the Study Room, including:
  • Middlesex students from Fashion and Illustration
  • Jane Ellison, Surface Design & Printed Textiles at Northampton University
  • Dominic Goetz, Film Studies & Creative Writing at London Metropolitan University. Dominic is writing a short story based in Hampstead in 1917. He is keen that his depiction of middle-class life in this London suburb is as historically accurate as possible, and has been looking at various publications from the time for a clearer idea of the interior fashions and social conventions of the period.
It's great to see our collections are relevant to such diverse research interests and can inspire so much creativity. And it it doesn't look as if there'll be much of a let up in 2012. Better make sure I recharge my batteries over the Christmas break so I can cope with it all

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