Alastair Morton and Edinburgh Weavers: Visionary Textiles and Modern Art

Lesley Jackson

Artist and designer Alastair Morton (1910-1963) was an inspirational figure who crossed the divide between painting and textiles. As the director of Edinburgh Weavers – one of the most innovative textile companies of the twentieth century – he spearheaded a range of artists’ textiles that remain unparalleled in quality and scope. Specialising in printed and woven furnishing fabrics, Edinburgh Weavers’ collections featured designs by major figures such as Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Cecil Collins, William Scott, Alan Reynolds, Keith Vaughan, Elisabeth Frink, Marino Marini and Victor Vasarely.

In all, Edinburgh Weavers collaborated with over a hundred and fifty artists and designers from 1931, when Morton joined the firm, until his death in 1963. As well as nurturing the talents of fellow artist-designers, such as Marion Dorn, Ashley Havinden, Humphrey Spender, Lucienne Day and Hans Tisdall, Morton designed many innovative textiles, both for Edinburgh Weavers and Horrockses. A close friend of Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, Morton was also a gifted artist himself. His Constructivist paintings and subtle abstract watercolours deserve to be better known. This book records the fascinating career of a multi-talented individual and his heroic endeavours at Edinburgh Weavers as a champion of artists’ textiles.

Lesley Jackson is a writer, curator and design historian specializing in twentieth-century design. Her books include The New Look: Design in the Fifties (1991), ‘Contemporary’ Architecture and Interiors of the 1950s (1994), The Sixties: Decade of Design Revolution (1998), Robin and Lucienne Day (2001 / 2011) and 20th-Century Pattern Design (2002 / 2011).

Publication date: 14 February 2012


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