Allan Walton (1891 – 1948) British painter, decorator, architect and textile designer

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Allan Walton designer featured image
Allan Walton designer featured image

Artist-designed textiles

Allan Walton (1891 – 1948) was a British painter, decorator, architect, textile designer, and manufacturer.

Education

He studied painting at the Slade School of Art in London then qualified as an architect in London. He studied at the Westminster School of Art under W.R Sickert and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris.

Biography

He was a member of the London Group of artists, and he and his brother founded Allan Walton Textiles in London in 1925. 

Allan Walton Textiles

He commissioned some of the most innovative screen prints of the 1930s, designed by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, as a principle of Allan Walton Fabrics. Allan Walton Textiles gained a considerable reputation throughout the 1930s by commissioning designs from contemporary artists, resulting in “some of the cleverest and most effective modern fabrics”.

Little Urn furnishing fabric 1932 designed by Grant Duncan for Allan Walton textiles
Little Urn furnishing fabric 1932 designed by Grant Duncan for Allan Walton textiles

Interior Designer

In the late 1920s, he became the head of the decorating department at the Fortnum & Mason department store in London. He created stylish and attractive rooms for his clientele, often using John Armstrong’s wall decorations. X. Marcel Boulestin oversaw Clough Williams-Ellis at the 1925 Restaurant Francais in Leicester Square, London, and the 1927 Restaurant Boulestin in Covent Garden, London. Their design for Restaurant Francais was unique, enticing customers who came for the decor as much as the food.

He was a powerful champion for good design and a member of major British industrial design and art education groups; he was the Glasgow School of Art director from 1943 to 1945.

Any reservations Walton had about joining the family textile business were dispelled in 1931. Walton was in a great position to explore the contribution fine art may make to designing and manufacturing furnishing materials because of his Manchester textile background, fine art training, taste for interior design, and close relationship with creative artists.

Works

Textile design by Allan Walton made in the 1930s
Textile design by Allan Walton made in the 1930s
Chestnut furnishing fabric made in 1938 designed by Allan Walton
Textile design star pattern made in 1936 designed by Allan Walton
Textile design star pattern made in 1936 designed by Allan Walton

Sources

Batho, H. (1993). Textiles by Frank Dobson. The Journal of the Decorative Arts Society 1850 – the Present, (17), 34-41. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41809211

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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