Reviving the William Liddell Damask Design Collection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The William Liddell archive is a collection of over 1600 glass photographic plates recovered from the premises of the abandoned Ewart-Liddell weaving factory in Donaghcloney, County Down, Northern Ireland. The salvaged collection was donated to the Belfast School of Art in 2007, however the condition was so fragile that they have not been able to be accessed or used. Heritage Lottery Funding was secured in 2017 to make this unique archive accessible to the public and to support a series of local road shows culminating in an exhibition in Autumn 2018 in the Linen Centre, Lisburn Museum. This paper reports on preliminary findings after the careful digitisation and cataloguing of each plate.

The plates appear to have been kept as a record of the working methods of designers and technical draughtsmen and draughtswomen in the company dating from the early twentieth century to 1970s. The sketches, designs and technical drawings recorded were used for the production of Jacquard Damask linen for tableware, bed linen and furnishings. The collection evidences a tantalising clientele that was worldwide. William Liddell produced high quality Damask linen products for clients across the globe, top hotels such as the Hilton, Savoy, Raffles and the Ritz; shipping lines such as Cunard, White Star, and the Union Steam Navigation Company of New Zealand; organisations such as the U.S. Navy, the Bohemian Club San Francisco, Canadian Coastguards and Claridges.


The photographs document design specifications from Liddell’s clients, early sketches, painted drawings, accurately hand-drafted designs and typography, point paper layouts and proof cloths. It is extraordinary that this form of unique photographic record was kept and perhaps more astonishing that the observation of everyday affairs of a textile manufacturing design office were the subjects of such an extensive and persistent documentary endeavour. This paper reports on the preliminary findings of the study, the approaches used to classify and cross-reference the archive’s content and outlines the present categories being used in terms of client markets, design influences and stages of the Damask design process.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 46-70
JournalJournal of Textile Design Research and Practice
Volume8
Issue number1
Early online date11 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Damask design
  • photographic plate
  • Irish linen industry
  • William Liddell

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  • Activities

    • 1 Organising a conference, workshop, ...
    • 1 Participating in a conference, workshop, ...

    Reviving The William Liddell Collection

    Trish Belford (Organiser)

    201931 May 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...

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    Linen Biennale Conference: Liddell Linen Lace

    Trish Belford (Participant)

    3 Oct 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipating in a conference, workshop, ...

    File

    Research Output

    Reviving the William LIddell Collection: Shuttles and Shafts

    Belford, P. & Dass, B., 23 Jan 2019, 1 ed. Blackburn : Vision Support Services. 159 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    File
  • The Donacloney Collection: A collaboration with William Clark and Sons Ltd

    Belford, P., 30 Mar 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formBody of Work

    File
  • Reviving the William Liddell Collection

    Belford, P. & Dass, B., 9 Oct 2018, (Accepted/In press)

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

    Open Access
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