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Furnishing fabric

Furnishing fabric

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1947 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Passano, Roy (designer)
    Armfield, Diana M. MSIA, NEAC, RWA, born 1920 (designer)
    Armfield-Passano (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    screen printed cotton lawn

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Cream furnishing fabric, fine cotton lawn with blue screen print of wide Regency stripes containing closely spaced design of trees, bridges, buildings, starry night skies, ferns, boats and human figures.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1947 (made)


Passano, Roy (designer)
Armfield, Diana M. MSIA, NEAC, RWA, born 1920 (designer)
Armfield-Passano (makers)

Materials and Techniques

screen printed cotton lawn


Width: 520 mm, Length: 520 mm

Historical context note

Diana Armfield's company, Armfield Passano, was set up in a studio at the bottom of her sister's garden at 7 Lambolle Road, Belsize Park in London, in 1947. Despite having to operate in the difficult post-war climate of rationing and scarcity of materials, the company operated successfully until 1952 when Roy Passano - her partner - emigrated to Canada.

Their range of subtle craft textiles was characterised by individual figurative, abstract and floral designs, hand-screen or block-printed. They made their own screens from parachute silk, which was unreliable and often leaked. Most of the printing was therefore done with blocks on the floor under the foot pressure of Mr Smiltens, their devoted Finnish printer. He earned £4 a week. Diana later remarked: 'He said he could not live on this - but it did not matter as he made his "real" money on the dogs.'

They used pigment dyes and blocks cut from battleship linoleum. The designs were printed on whatever fabric they could get their hands on - generally silk, cotton and linen. Diana admitted that 'to sustain our business it was necessary to make contact with valuable people in the textile trade who found it possible to get material in ways we did not ask about … we bought cloth from dubious sources, who wheeled out bolts of wartime parachute silk from under the counter, coupon free.' When supplies were desperately low they were forced to use architect's tracing linen. This was expensive and had to be soaked to remove the dressing before it could be successfully printed.

Descriptive line

Furnishing fabric, blue screen-print on white cotton, by Armfield-Passano. Great Britain, 1947.


Lawn cotton


Screen printing

Subjects depicted

Human; Buildings; Bridges; Trees; Stars; Ferns; Boats




Textiles and Fashion Collection

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