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Nina Hamnett*

Nina Hamnett*

Maud Cunard**

Maud Cunard**

Vanessa Bell*

zoom inVanessa Bell*

Vanessa Bell - Omega Workshop 1912-19

Maud, the fabric illustrated, was named after Omega’s patron, Lady Maud Alice Burke Cunard (1872-1948). Maud was an American heiress and the socialite wife of Canadian, Sir Bache Cunard. Sir Bache grandfather was Samuel Cunard the shipping magnate who came from Bush Hill, Nova Scotia. Sir Bache’s family estate was Nevill, Holt, Leicestershire, UK. Maud had recently left Bache to pursue her passionate love affair with the conductor Thomas Beecham. Their daughter Nancy was a well known poet, publisher and political activist. Maud was available in four colour combinations all with a white background and measured 31 in (79 cm) wide . The printed linens were priced from 2s 9 d to 4 s per yard. There is also a graph paper design probably to be used for a rug or carpeting, which was never manufactured. The Omega Post-Impressionist sitting room at the Ideal Home Exhibition in 1913 showed a length of Maud hanging on a wall. This was the Workshop’s major undertaking after its opening. The fabrics were also used for garments. A blouse was made using Maud fabric in 1914-5 by the Workshops, worn by Roger Fry to a party of the Ballet Russe in London in 1918. In 1914 linen tunics were being made to measure using Omega printed linens. There is a photo of Nina Hamnett in one made up from Maud fabric, as well as a painting of her by Roger Fry with the cushion on a chair covered in Maud.

The Omega Workshops closed in 1919, their clients having lost their enthusiasm for purchasing avant garde items during the First World War.

Click here to go to British Artist Designer Textiles section of the website.


Anscombe, Isabel Omega and After, Bloomsbury and the Decorative Arts p 28

Jackson, Lesley 20th Century Pattern Design (Mitchell Beazley 2002)

Collins, Judith The Omega Workshops

Fine Art Society/Target Gallery Artists' Textiles in Britain 1945-70 exhibition at The Fine Art Society 2003. (Antique Collectors' Club) p 11.

Powers, Alan Modern Block Printed Textiles

Shone, Richard The Art of Bloomsbury

Spalding, Frances Roger Fry: Art and Life. (University of California Press)

The Victoria & Albert Museum's Textile Collection British Textiles from 1900-1937 (1999)

Exhibition: The Omega Workshops. Alliance & Enmity in English Art 1911-20 Anthony d'Offay Galleries (1984)

Exhibition: Vorticism & its Allies 1974, no 132.
Arts Council Vision & Design 1966, no 109.

* Crafts Council Exhibition 18 January - 18 March 1984
The Omega Workshops 1913-19. Decorative Arts of Bloomsbury
p 59 T 15. Maud is illustrated in colour p 52

**National Portrait Gallery

© 2007 Meg Andrews.

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