Vanessa Bell
c 1913

A very rare piece of fabric. I have not seen similar for 25 years of being in the antique textile business. Very rare piece of fabric.In the V & A book this fabric is hung the opposite way up. The pieces I have all have gathers and therefore made up the other way round! I can't believe that knowing Roger Fry , Florence Hodgkin would have had them made the wrong way round! Provenance: The fabric was hung in a house called Springhead, Fontmell Magna, Shaftesbury, Dorset and has been sold by the grand daugher of the original owner of the fabric. A recent letter from her accompanies the fabric stating: "My grandmother Florence Hodgkin was a friend of Fry (Roger) and knew the Omega Workshop well. She was an Irish eccentric, 14th child of the 14th child who ran away from home at 21 and broke off all links. Grandmother is my 1st cousin Howard Hodgkin "(meaning her 1st cousin is HH, the artist). In 1933 the estate, a house, ancient mill building and millpond were bought by the vendor's parents Rolf and Marable Gardiner, who used it as a family home for themselves and their three children, but also as a centre for the arts and nucleus of a widely extending farm and forestry operation. They set up the Springhead Ring with a group of Oxbridge friends who believed in ?time with the seasons?. They made it a centre for rural regeneration. Rolf was a pioneer of the organic movement and advocate of wise land use. Marabel created a unique garden around the lake and used it as a setting for festivals, drama, dance and music, marking the passage of the agricultural year. Presumably the fabric was handed down by the grandmother to her daughter Marable to hang in the house. The Springhead Trust was established in 1973 by the vendor on her father's death. It is a centre for the Arts as well as a training and recreation centre. The Lower Garden is home to Neal's Yard Remedies where herbs are grown organically and remedies made. The Trust has just gained a grant from the Arts Council to stage a children's arts centre. "Walking in the Footsteps of Our Ancestors", a visual arts exhibition and open-air theatre in June. Rolf was Lord Lieutenant of Dorset. During WW2 he oversaw rope production , Dorset being a flax growing area. The vendor's great uncle Balfour Gardiner set up work camps for miners during the 1930's. See: Article and Bibliography for Omega Workshops


Maud a length designed for the Omega Workshops, the selvedge with Omega hand block printed in brown ink, the linen with an abstract design of blocks of mid blue, mauvey/fawn and soft orange with serrated edges on a natural linen ground , with light brown strips, one full pattern repeat but nearly two, 36 in. d x 24 in. w; 1 x 63 cm selvedge to selvedge.


21in; 54 cm width of fabric is not faded and in gc. the last 4 in; 12 cm width is faded. We have also turned under the extreme right hand edge 3 in; 8 cm has a tear to the top right hand side (see photos of reverse). If wished the slight faded part could also be turned under.


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