The interrelationship of carpet weaving technologies and design in the work of James Templeton and Company, Glasgow, carpet manufacturer, 1890 – 1939

Cleaver, Jonathan (2021) The interrelationship of carpet weaving technologies and design in the work of James Templeton and Company, Glasgow, carpet manufacturer, 1890 – 1939. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis asks how technical and cultural influences interacted to shape carpet design and manufacture. Primary evidence is drawn from the archives of James Templeton and Company, Glasgow, formerly Scotland’s largest carpet manufacturer, focussing on fifty years of the company’s growth in the early-twentieth century. Factory-woven carpets are underrepresented in current scholarship despite their familiarity. Dominant interests in craft-production and progressive design movements have found little value in styles that Kjetil Fallan has termed “traditionalesque.” The primary aim of the thesis is to reframe carpet research by foregrounding weave structure and design process over pattern style to redress the historiographic bias towards elite forms.

Detailed investigation of a broader range of Templeton archive records than used in previous studies has enabled drawings, lithographs, and price lists to be cross-referenced for the purpose of analysing the technical opportunities and constraints that shaped carpet design. These were contextualised by close readings of contemporary trade literature, design instruction manuals, furnishing advice texts, object studies, and original research using the Board of Trade Register of Designs, held by The National Archives (TNA). The concept of technological affordance is adopted from studies of the Social Construction of Technology to analyse how James Templeton and Company used the Chenille Axminster weaving process to make carpets in the early-twentieth century.

This thesis’ sociotechnical reading of carpet manufacture intervenes with established methodologies about authorship and style. It proposes a more appropriate approach for studying mechanised carpet weaving. A historically situated reassessment of Templeton’s Chenille Axminster production reveals pattern-storage to be a valued affordance that has been previously overlooked. Examining past training opportunities for carpet designers in Glasgow makes evident the mediation of technological and artistic knowledge in design practice. The first design history of plain-coloured carpets and fresh archival research on the cultural significance of Templeton’s “oriental” designs integrate a more inclusive range of objects into the developing field of carpet history.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: This project was funded by a Doctoral Training Partnership Scholarship from the Art and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) with the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (SGSAH). A three-month curatorial internship with the Museum of the Home, London, was generously funded by SGSAH in 2018. Other archival research was supported by a grant from the University of Glasgow, College of Arts Graduate School.
Keywords: Design history, carpet weaving, technology, affordance.
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Supervisor's Name: Tuckett, Dr. Sally, Britt, Dr. Helena and Wieber, Dr. Sabine
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82518
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2021 15:11
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2021 14:34
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82518

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