Sanderson: 150 Years of English Decoration

One of the world’s most pioneering fabric and furnishing companies – a quintessentially English company – is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Head to Bermondsey for an exhibition on Sanderson.

Sanderson Wallpaper

One of the world’s most pioneering fabric and furnishing companies – quintessentially English – is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The exhibition Very Sanderson: 150 Years of English Decoration, running from 19 March to 13 June at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London, explores the work of the farsighted Arthur Sanderson.

This is the man who brought affordable machine-printed papers to housewives in the 1880s when a building boom led to a greater demand for decorative materials, yet also commissioned designers like Pugin and Picasso, Christopher Dresser, Voysey and The Silver Studio.

He had  a gift for knowing what home makers wanted and then making sure they could find it in his shop. He started out in 1860 as an importer of French wallpapers and his company is still arguably the best-known interior design company in Britain today. This beautifully displayed exhibition takes you on a tour of 150 years of interior design and technology: Sanderson was even one of the first to produce booklets with colour plates to show customers their paints, papers and fabrics. There are all the styles on show, from Arts and Crafts to jazzy Moderne, 1950s and  Pop Art, up to today, chosen from Sanderson’s incredible archive.

The Fashion and Textile Museum, founded by designer Zandra Rhodes, houses permanent and changing exhibitions on fashion, textiles and jewellery, and an academy, in a fascinating building designed by Ricardo Legorreta. The Fashion and Textile Museum, Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF; tel: (020) 7407 8664. Report by Pat Moore.

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