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Furnishing fabric - George and Rufus
  • George and Rufus
    Nicholson, Ben, born 1894 - died 1982
  • Enlarge image

George and Rufus

  • Object:

    Furnishing fabric

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1938 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nicholson, Ben, born 1894 - died 1982 (designer)
    Edinburgh Weavers (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Screen-printed rayon

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Ben Nicholson first met Alaistair Morton, founder of Edinburgh Weavers, in the early 1930s. He was struggling financially as an artist and so was grateful for the work Morton passed his way, especially during the war years. Nicholson gave the original design for this fabric as a painting to Morton in 1940 accompanied by a letter in which he wrote, 'I wonder if you would like the enclosed piece of nursery realism for your realistic nursery? Tell me frankly if you don't like it, or if it is too much like the one you have ... I imagine it in a narrow white frame and hung low down'. Morton subsequently translated the painting into a repeat pattern for a nursery fabric.

Jake Nicholson, Ben's son by his first marriage to Winifred Nicholson, remembers that the animals in his paintings usually had names. 'Dogs were called Booboo or Ponto, and horses seemed to be George, or if they were roan coloured, Rufus, and they tended to be skittish. There was also a stag called Johnny and even a crocodile called Billy.'

Physical description

Furnishing fabric of screen-printed rayon featuring animals with the sea in the background. The design is abstract and naive with bold blocks of colour.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1938 (made)


Nicholson, Ben, born 1894 - died 1982 (designer)
Edinburgh Weavers (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Screen-printed rayon


Length: 183 cm, Width: 127 cm, Diameter: 95 mm

Object history note

The design was originally done by Nicholson for a children's book, which never materialised.

Descriptive line

Furnishing fabric 'George and Rufus' of screen-printed rayon, designed by Ben Nicholson, made by Edinburgh Weavers, England, 1938

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

The Nicholsons: A Story of Four People and Their Designs, Exhibition Catalogue, York City Art Gallery, 1988

Production Note

Reason For Production: Retail




Screen printed

Subjects depicted

Stag; Dogs; Sea


Textiles; Children & Childhood; Interiors; Scotland

Production Type

Mass produced


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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