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Furnishing fabric - Festival of Britain

Festival of Britain

  • Object:

    Furnishing fabric

  • Place of origin:

    Lancashire (made)

  • Date:

    1951 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Barker, John (designer)
    David Whitehead & Sons Ltd. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Screen-printed rayon satin

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Edna French

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Produced to commemorate the Festival of Britain in 1951, this print was designed by John Barker for David Whitehead Limited. At that time, David Whitehead Limited, based in Lancashire, was noted for its progressive design policy, which had been led by their director of furnishing fabrics, John Murray. The print shows an image of the exhibition on the South Bank in London, but the Festival was spread across many other venues through the city, and it was celebrated all round Britain. The design also refers to the Great Exhibition of 1851 by incorporating silhouettes of the Crystal Palace, which was constructed to hold the exhibition in Hyde Park in London.

Physical description

Furnishing fabric of screen-printed rayon satin, featuring bird's eye view of the South Bank buildings for the Festival of Britain, 1951, and silhouettes of the Crystal Palace (1851) in a linear stylised elevation, surrounded by oak leaves. The pattern consists of a trellis formed by leafy oak branches framing alternate views of the buildings. In acid yellow, green, mauve, red, blue and black.

Place of Origin

Lancashire (made)


1951 (made)


Barker, John (designer)
David Whitehead & Sons Ltd. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Screen-printed rayon satin

Marks and inscriptions

In a cartouche below the Crystal Palace building.


Length: 124 in, Width: 50 in

Descriptive line

Furnishing fabric 'Festival of Britain' of screen-printed rayon satin, designed by John Barker, made by David Whitehead & Sons Ltd., Lancashire, 1951

Production Note

Reason For Production: Commemorative




Screen printed



Production Type

Mass produced


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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