Above image - 'Eltham' - Copyright Copyright G P & J Baker
Above image - 'Broughton Rose' - Copyright Copyright G P & J Baker
Above image - 'Summer Peony' - Copyright BCopyright G P & J Baker
As I write this my trusted right-hand lady, chief designer and showroom manager (my elder daughter Jenna) has just informed me that this year Mothering Sunday falls on the same day as British Summer Time begins. This means that instead of enjoying a well-earned lie in, all the hard-working mothers out there will actually be woken by their little treasures an hour earlier than usual. That doesn’t seem fair.
However, the weather is currently fabulous (it’ll probably be snowing by the time you read this), and things are getting back to more or less normal in the interior design industry.
So much so that after an enforced gap of 2 years, a couple of weeks ago we closed the showroom for a day and headed off to Chelsea Harbour Design Centre to enjoy the delights of London Design Week. For those of you not in the know, this is one of the two annual events (the other being in the autumn) at which the movers and shakers in the design industry traditionally launch their spring collections of fabrics and wallpapers. Although during the Covid era many manufacturers tried their best to launch via Zoom, it was soooo good see new collections in the flesh, as it were. Our lovely industry, dear reader, is as much about touch as it is sight. While it was obvious that some manufacturers were erring on the side of caution, there were many glorious highlights, of which I’ll be regaling you in the coming months.
But let’s start with the latest offering from one of my long-time favourite companies, G P & J Baker. The company was founded in 1884 by brothers George Percival and James Baker, establishing an inheritance full of innovation and drama. Avid and discerning collectors of rare and iconic designs, the brothers began what has become one of the largest and most exciting privately owned textile archives in the world. Initially concerned with the import of Persian, Turkish and Turkoman carpets which they would re-export to Paris and the United States, they gradually progressed to textiles. GP & J Baker has been the proud holder of Her Majesty the Queen’s Royal Warrant since 1982 in recognition of the supply of GP & J Baker fabrics and wallcoverings to the Royal household. In fact, we were lucky enough to be invited to the Royal Warrant holder’s garden party some 10 or so years ago, and made to drink Pimms on the Queen’s lawn – a tough job!
Whilst classic, the Baker handwriting is never stuffy, and always appropriate to the prevailing mood of the time. This year’s offering, entitled Ashmore, is truly lovely, and is described as a collection “To embrace a renewed desire to return to nature as a retreat from the day to day”.
The collection, consisting of both fabrics and wallpapers, was inspired by delightful references found in the English countryside during the spring and summer months, and from several documents from the GP & J Baker archive ,including two early 20th century original textile designs painted by William Turner that have been reimagined for the collection. Eltham, a pretty, painterly design featuring a variety of birds in leafy branches and Broughton Rose, a delicate print of roses and guinea fowl are joined by Summer Peony, a rescaled print based on GP & J Baker’s Giant Peony design. Several delicate embroideries are also included in single and tonal colours, featuring floral and naturalistic motifs. Two embroidered linen sheers complete this eminently versatile and timeless collection. The Ashmore colour palette is soft and pretty, and ranges from off whites and ivories to blush pinks, chalky blues and aquas, through to soft brick reds and flashes of fresh leaf greens.
Baker Lifestyle is the diffusion range of GP & J Baker, filled with young, fresh and pretty designs which are both adaptable and accessible. Their collections display the free spirit of the Baker Lifestyle brand with witty and whimsical prints, relaxed informal weaves and botanical embroideries on soft linens and crisp cottons.
Their latest offering is entitled Bridport, and combines illustrative, printed designs with chic checks and stripes, perfect for creating fresh, easy-living contemporary rooms. The delicately printed title fabric Bridport introduces a fresh take on folk design and combines pretty plants and cypress trees in a fantasy forest. The picturesque Ellingham (my personal favourite) features hand-painted scenes of herons, ducks and water lilies. Lilliput sees monkeys and birds nestle amongst fruit trees to create a charming, light-hearted design, whilst Ferndown combines understated tints to create a painterly, watercolour botanical. The collection is completed with Lulworth, a whimsical flora and fauna design in a traditional block print style, and Petherton, a delicate, single coloured embroidery inspired by Indienne textiles.
Bridport’s decorative designs are complemented by four versatile checks and stripes in a variety of soft textures and weights. Sherbourne Ticking is a charming pinstripe, with Sherbourne Gingham, a traditional small-scale pure cotton check. Purbeck Stripe is a bold mid-scale stripe, mixing soft colours with a neutral ground and small herringbone weave, complemented by Purbeck Check, a smart check with a supremely country feel.
Bridport has been imaginatively shaded to match colour themes of classic blue and white, infused with indigo and red, alongside combinations of pink and green, aqua and soft blue and delicate leaf green.
As a G P & J Baker Elite stockist, we would be pleased to show you the new collections in person. Why not give us a call, and arrange to pop in to our Edgbaston showroom. You’d be most welcome.
John Biddell, John Charles Interiors
Live 24 7 magazine editorial - APRIL 2022