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Sweater - Manly Sweater
  • Manly Sweater
    Caulfield, Patrick, born 1936 - died 2005
  • Enlarge image

Manly Sweater

  • Object:

    Sweater

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1972 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Caulfield, Patrick, born 1936 - died 2005 (artist)
    Ross, Mike, born 1936 (designer)
    The Ritva Man (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cotton frame knit and machine sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mike Ross

  • Museum number:

    T.18-2000

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Ritva and Mike Ross were part of the vibrant art, fashion and music scene of ‘60s and ‘70s London and they produced some of the most innovative knitwear of the period. Mike settled there after leaving the USA, attended a non-diploma course at the RCA in 1963-4, while Ritva came from Helsinki, and went to the London School of Printing. She later became a model, and worked at Jane & Jane where Jean Muir was the designer. Ritva started her self-named company with Mike Ross in 1966, wholesaling to boutiques such as Annacat, Browns, and Countdown on the Kings Road.

Ritva, a self-taught knitter, designed and made samples of women's and children's wear. Her body-hugging garments included mini-dresses, skirts and even jumpsuits and her work was featured in magazines such as Nova, Harpers & Queen, and Life. Ritva knitwear used a variety of stitches including crochet, and different yarns: wool, silk, acrylic, in a range of colours. These were imported from France where they were produced in richer colours than those available in Britain. Outworkers knitted the garments using domestic knitting machines, and all were hand-finished in the Ritva workroom.

Mike began ‘The Ritva Man’ label in 1969, designing sweaters for his Hyde Park baseball team of American ex-pats. These ‘Home Run’ and ‘Strike Zone’ sweaters included appliquéd motifs, and lower sleeves of a different colour, inspired by the layered shirts worn by baseball players. After an article by Molly Parkin of The Times, the sweaters became fashion items in men’s boutiques like Blades and Michael John.

In 1971 Mike Ross asked artists Elizabeth Frink, David Hockney, Patrick Hughes and Allen Jones to design motifs for the first limited edition 'Artist Collection'. The sweaters incorporated an embroidered appliqué, translated from the original design under the guidance and approval of each artist in collaboration with Mike Ross. The sweaters were expensive at £40, or £782 today (based on average earnings, see www.measuringworth.com, accessed 20.7.12). Perspex box frames were also available so sweaters could be displayed when not being worn. Mike Ross worked with four other artists - Patrick Caulfield, Antony Donaldson, Ken Price and Richard Smith - to produce a second series in 1972, the same year that the Ritva shop opened at 8 Hollywood Road, off Fulham Road.

Mike Ross’s film and record business contacts lead to many sweater designs for films such as Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Shining (1980). The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel and The Doobie Brothers all had Ritva sweaters made in support of album tours. Although these were designed primarily as menswear, they had unisex appeal and were ordered and worn by celebrities such as Brit Eckland, Raquel Welch and John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The company closed in 1980.

Physical description

Green long-sleeved, V-sweater with black leather shoulder and elbow patches and pocket on left breast edged with black leather, with brown leather applique in shape of a pipe above and black fabric applique in shape of a bird on pocket.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1972 (made)

Artist/maker

Caulfield, Patrick, born 1936 - died 2005 (artist)
Ross, Mike, born 1936 (designer)
The Ritva Man (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Cotton frame knit and machine sewn

Marks and inscriptions

'The Ritva man / made in england'
Label; English; sewn in back neck; printed; silk

'100% COTTON'
Label; English; sewn to maker's label at back neck; printing; synthetic fibre

'Designed by Patrick / Caulfield in conjunc- / tion with Mike Ross / in a signed, limited / edition of 250' (signature of Patrick Caulfield)
Label; English; sewn to back of neck; Typewritten; cotton

Dimensions

Length: 59.5 cm, Circumference: 76 cm chest, Circumference: 725 mm

Object history note

This is one of the second Artist's Collection series sweaters, produced by Ritva in 1972.

Historical significance: In 1971 Ritva produced the first Artists Collection, limited edition pullovers with designs by artists including David Hockney, Elisabeth Frink, Allen Jones, Patrick Hughes, who comprised Series One. Mike Ross continued the idea of never repeating a sweater design and limiting the number produced of each design. Series Two, 1972, included Patrick Caulfield, Richard Smith and Anthony Donaldson.

Descriptive line

'The Manly Sweater', Mike Ross and Patrick Caulfield for The Ritva Man, Artist's Collection series, machine-knitted acrylic with appliqued patches of leatherette, leather and a bird motif of polyester fabric. London, 1972

Production Note

Attribution note: Only 250 made

Materials

Cotton; Leather; Synthetic

Techniques

Machine sewing; Frame knitting; Applied work

Categories

Fashion; Textiles; Clothing

Production Type

limited edition

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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