Textiles in the Archive of Art & Design

Page from Presage Paris Fashion Forecast, 1968. Museum no. AAD 746.92 PRE28

Page from Presage Paris Fashion Forecast, 1968. Museum no. AAD 746.92 PRE28

The V&A's Archive of Art and Design holds the working papers of individual artists and designers, as well as the records of companies and associations involved in all aspects of applied art and design. The archives can be consulted by appointment at Blythe House, located near Olympia in West London.

The Archive of Art and Design's holdings for Fashion Textiles demonstrate a number of different facets of the creative process, from the design of textiles to their production and promotion to costume research. There is also an extensive collection of sewing and knitting patterns which, as well as providing an overview of changing fashions, act as a reminder of a time when making clothes at home was the norm.

Ramah Judah's collection of knitting and embroidery patterns include his personal notebook delineating knitting pattern effects, two hand-written patterns, published knitting patterns of mens, boys and babywear from the 1930s to the 1960s and printed embroidery patterns, some of which date back to 1918. The archive of designer Elizabeth Davenport charts changes of style in ladies' knitwear with fifty-nine Vogue pattern books covering the period from 1937 to 1967.

George F. Ainscow's archive includes a personal account of his design career from the late 1920s to 1979. It also contains painted paisley designs for dressing gowns and ties and many other eye-catching designs for fashion fabrics dating from 1950 to 1978. Sylvia Clarke designed prints for silk dresses and ties, especially popular was her 1937 'Coronation' design celebrating the accession to the throne of George VI. Her archive contains a selection of fabric designs, including hand-painted floral and geometric patterns and screen printed textile samples.

The Ambassador magazine, originally called International Textiles, published news on developments in the fashion and textiles industry from 1933 to 1987 with articles on subjects such as dying techniques and newly created fabrics. As well as holding volumes of the magazine from its inception up to 1970, the Archive of Art and Design has photographs and negatives from magazine shoots and correspondence between the editors and artists, including such names as Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland.

For more details, please consult the Guide to the Archive of Art and Design, by Elizabeth Lomas (a Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers / V&A Publication 2001) which lists the AAD archives and also identifies related material in the V&A Museum and other institutions. Most of the archives are also listed in The National Art Library Catalogue.


  • George F. Ainscow, textile designer: papers, 1930-c.1993.
  • O.M. Bayles, advertising artist and textile designer: textile designs, c.1938-50.
  • Sylvia Clarke, textile designer: papers, 1935-c.1995.
  • A. Haines & Son, textile designers: designs, c.1950-60.
  • Francis Johnston, needlework pattern designer: papers, c.1904-c.1962.
  • James Morton, founder of Morton Sundour Fabrics Ltd: papers, c.1890-1990.
    AAD/1978/4, AAD/1991/3
  • Trude Neu, textile designer: papers, c.1912-96.
  • Mike Ross / Ritva Ross, knitwear designers, records, 1962-2003.
  • Eve Sandford, knitting designer: albums, 1961-69.


  • The Ambassador, export magazine for fashion and textiles: records, 1933-87.
  • European Commission for the Promotion of Silk, photographs, c.1970-76.
  • Presage : Paris Fashion Forecast, c.1961-87.
    AAD 746.92 PRE


  • Calico Printers' Association Ltd: textile sample books, 1933-70.
  • Madame Crystal Ltd, glove maker and A. Tugendhat, yarn importer: records, 1928-90.


  • Catherine Lucas, costume researcher: papers, c.1967-78.

Sewing and Knitting Patterns

  • Eileen Calvert, knitter and needlewoman: collection, c.1930-86.
  • Elizabeth Davenport, knitwear designer: papers, 1937-88.
  • Ephemera Collections: patterns for crochet, embroidery, knitwear and sewing, 1885-c.1979.
    AAD Ephemera
  • Ethel Garnham, crocheter, knitter and seamstress: collection, c.1930-51.
  • Ramah Judah, embroiderer and knitter: collection, 1918-c.1949.
  • Knitting Patterns: c.1850-c.1863 and c.1939-c.1959.
    AAD/1990/11, AAD/1995/34, AAD/2000/1
  • Eve Sandford, knitting designer: albums, 1961-9.
  • Sewing Patterns: 1933-1990.
    AAD/1984/7, AAD/1984/8, AAD/1988/15, AAD/1992/7, AAD/1995/28, AAD/1996/3

Contact Details

Archive of Art and Design
Tel: +44 (0)20 7603 7493
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