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Pair of furnishing fabrics - Haemoglobin 8.26

Haemoglobin 8.26

  • Object:

    Pair of furnishing fabrics

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1951 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Barlow & Jones Ltd. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Jacquard-woven cotton and yarn-dyed viscose rayon

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Council of Industrial Design

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Festival of Britain held in 1951 provided new opportunities for textile design and manufacture. Two very distinct types of pattern emerged at this event: one was inspired by scientific, crystal-structure diagrams drawn to record arrangements of atoms in matter; the other based on abstract forms and organic shape, the so-called 'Contemporary' style. This design derived from the crystallography model Haemoglobin 8.26, provided by the crystallographer Max Perutz, and was made in a limited production in 1951 in seven colourways. The bronze colourway was shown in the alcove of the Regatta Restaurant and in the Festival Pattern display at the Festival.

The Festival Pattern Group was the brainchild of Mark Harland Thomas of the Council of Industrial Design. He built on the idea first put forward in 1946 by crystallographer Dr Helen Megaw that the patterns made available by X-ray crystallography were particularly appropriate for textile design because of their repetitive symmetry and natural beauty. In 1949 he brought together the group of manufacturers who produced textiles, china, carpets, linoleum and wallpaper decorated with these patterns for the Festival. The project combined science and design and was perfect for the theme of the festival, which was to be a platform for British achievement in science, technology and the arts.

Physical description

Pair of furnishing fabrics of Jacquard woven cotton and yarn-dyed viscose rayon. With a design based on a crystal structure diagram of haemoglobin.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1951 (made)


Barlow & Jones Ltd. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Jacquard-woven cotton and yarn-dyed viscose rayon

Historical context note

Illlustrated in Festival of Britain Souvenir Book, Cover and p. 2; British Textiles, pp. 50-51; Skinner's Record, p. 475; Design, combined number 29-30, May-June, 1951, p. 14.

Descriptive line

Pair of furnishing fabrics 'Haemoglobin 8.26' of Jacquard woven cotton and yarn-dyed viscose rayon, made by Barlow & Jones Ltd., Great Britain, 1951

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jackson, Lesley. From Atoms to Patterns. Crystal structure designs from the 1951 Festival of Britain, London:Richard Dennis with Wellcome Institute, 2008, p. 52.

Production Note

See Jackson, p. 52.

Attribution note: Limited production in 1951; different colourways made.


Cotton; Viscose


Jacquard weaving


Textiles; Interiors


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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