Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth

Creative Tourist
Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth
lithographic poster representing salesmen and customer in a wallpaper showroom, 1899-1901. J Morgan and Co. Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at The Whitworth, Manchester, 17 August 2019–5 July 2020, free entry - Visit now

In the middle of the 19th century, wallpaper design suddenly became diverse. English manufacturers began to excel at the quick production of affordable wallpapers. There was also an ever-increasing availability of things from abroad. This resulted in a dramatic explosion of choice. Design Reform was a movement that wanted to control the quality of English design. There was enough concern about the higher standard of foreign things that the debate made its way to parliament.

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth looks at how powerful the voices of the people who called for Design Reform were. These (mostly male) designers, writers and MPs had a lasting effect on the way museums and art schools taught about good design. Ultimately the exhibition serves as a celebration of their failure to control the diversity of design that was available.

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at The Whitworth, Manchester

17 August 2019–5 July 2020
Free entry

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