Sculpture - Reliefs - Cards
- Prints - Paintings -
'Heal’s Picture Gallery and Craftsman’s
Market present an exhibition of abstract design (Pictures, sculpture,
prints and table
linen) by thirteen artists in collaboration with Porthia Prints
Designers of fabrics repeatedly draw on the inventiveness of contemporary
printers and sculptors for their inspiration. This is bad if it perverts
or destroys the impact of the artists’ ideas on his public, but
it can be a good thing if it helps to break down the separateness of
the artist, enabling people to become familiar with his idioms by incorporating
them directly into their everyday lives.
Recently Porthia Prints invited a number of painters and sculptors,
who are not normally fabric designers, to solve a simple problem of
design. The first results of this experiment form the present exhibition.
One part is composed of the table mats, screen printed in two colours
on to linen, from the designs of these artists. The other part of the
exhibition is of paintings, prints and sculptures by the same artists,
so that we can see how, in solving his problem of design, each painter
and sculptor has used again the particular personal idiom of his art.'
above is the introduction for an exhibition of work that took place
at Heal & Son
Limited in London opening Tuesday 1st March 1955. It included thirteen
place mats, featuring the designs of 13 artists, screen printed by
Very little else has been written, or known, about Porthia prints,
set up by Denis and Stanley Dorfman in the 1950's. Mention is made
British Printmaking 1914-60 by Frances Carey and Anthony Griffiths,
pp178-179 & p185 (British Museum Publications ISBN 0714116467).
The exhibition is mentioned in the Tate exhibition catalogue 'St Ives
p109 and notes the years that denis was involved, 1953-60 (Tate Gallery
Publications ISBN 0946590206). An exhibition at the Redfern Gallery
in 1986 showed six of the mats and a fuller exhibition of the mats
was organised by the Belgrave
Gallery, St Ives in conjunction with Margaret Howell, London in 2006.
Margaret Howell also produced a calendar featuring twelve designs for
2008. That just about sums up all we know about Porthia Prints.
If you can add to our meagre knowledge we would love to hear from you.
The catalogue for the show is included under exhibitions while
mats by the
who took part in the original exhibition are shown here. They may not
be the 13 designs that were printed for the exhibition as other designs
but they do give
a pretty good impression of what was produced.
(Click on image to enlarge)