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The Last Supper

  • Object:

    Furnishing fabric

  • Place of origin:

    Milton Keynes (manufactured)
    Great Britain (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1975 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Squires, Eddie, born 1940 - died 1995 (designer)
    Warner and Sons (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Screen printed cotton, sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Eddie Squires

  • Museum number:

    T.1000-2000

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

A large curtain made from two widths of screen printed cotton, decorated with a repeating pattern. The latter is an interpretation of Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' in bright greens, blues, reds and beige. The original design is embellished with floral and astronomical borders, historic background scenes and exotic furnishings. The design is the same as on T.999-2000, but in a different colour scheme.
Two metal weights are in the bottom corners and heading tape is sewn across the top. The back is lined with two widths of cream cotton, which are not fixed at the bottom. All four selvedges are preserved and contain the following printed text: ' "THE LAST SUPPER" from SPRINGS OF WISDOM: Printed in England for Warner & Sons Ltd. '

Place of Origin

Milton Keynes (manufactured)
Great Britain (manufactured)

Date

1975 (made)

Artist/maker

Squires, Eddie, born 1940 - died 1995 (designer)
Warner and Sons (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Screen printed cotton, sewn

Dimensions

Width: 151 cm top, Width: 270 cm bottom, Length: 256 cm

Descriptive line

Large colourful curtain with a repeat pattern reproduction after da Vinci's "Last Supper"; screen printed cotton, furnishing fabric, 20th century.

Labels and date

Last Supper
Screen-printed cotton furnishing fabric
Designed by Eddie Squires for Warner and Sons
British, 1975

Created for the Springs of Wisdom Collection, the Last Supper demonstrates the lengthy creative process which went into making the 'Specials' which Eddie Squires produced on an annual basis. These projects, which included Gemstones and Lunar Rocket, allowed him to stretch his artistic imagination. Theme-based, the final designs were built up after months of collecting related images and objects:

"A collection of designs starts out from several factors coming together, often over a long period of time ... an idea for a collection is sometimes 3 years from concept to stock. Individual designs in the collection may start from a photograph taken several years ago just waiting for the right complimentary extra to make it work. The same could happen from a small sketch or a painting done several years ago, or even last week. An idea in the memory bank is jogged into recall by some new reference that you know will work together."
Quoted from a paper written by Eddie Squires called All Is Not Roses In The Decorex Garden', July 1986

To produce this extravagant textile tableau, Eddie Squires combed flea markets, second-hand shops, magazines and newspapers to find numerous reproductions, both kitsch and serious, of Leonardo da Vinci's iconic rendering of the Last Supper.
Eddie Squires' version of The Last Supper explores a range of religions and philosophies taking the New Testament account of the Last Supper of Christ with his disciples as its starting point. Christianity is closely linked to at least two other religions through the Bible, Judaism and Islam and the supper scene is superimposed on a lush garden, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden which begins the Book of Genesis. The influence of Islam is shown in the carpet placed beneath the table.

From left to right through the windows can be seen: a garden, the Tower of Babel, the Pyramids, the Moon landing, a futuristic city shown through the central three openings, the Buddha, the Acropolis, Noah's Ark and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Thus we glimpse simultaneously past civilisations and the future of mankind. Surrounding the central panel are the elements of life: earth, water, air and fire. The fertility of the earth is highlighted by the flourishing palm trees and wheat. Plants like grapes, poppies, the herb Cannabis sativa and the mushroom Psilocybe mexicana suggest it is natural for us to enjoy states of altered consciousness. The three lotuses in a pool in the foreground are an eastern symbol of love and logic. In the sky above we see night and day with a centrally placed sun surrounded by the planets of our solar system, accompanied by their astrological symbols.

The palette is muted and naturalistic with greens, browns, blues and pinks dominating and a total of twelve screens were required to achieve the subtle modulations of colour. The contemplative approach encouraged by encoding symbolic meanings in the pictorial elements of Last Supper is a contrast to the immediate visual impact of his 1960s textiles. Rather than celebrating an exploration of the contemporary physical world it charts a universal, spiritual journey. Eddie said that his Last Supper "represents the hippy era in which it was designed and through this fabric I tried to visualise … religious and spiritual influences, but it must be said that the whole production does also have a sense of humour about it." []

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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