GP & J Baker was founded in 1884 by brothers George Percival and James Baker. They started a family-run company, and together with their father they travelled around the Far East and Asia purchasing designs, textiles, sketches and thousands of pattern books. This resulted in a unique pattern collection, which to this day forms the foundation of GP & J Baker's range. Many of the designs are based on eighteenth century block prints and English chintzes
William Turner is one of the designers who created many of the prints in GP & J Baker's archive. He is also the designer behind almost all of the GP & J Baker designs in Svenskt Tenn’s range. William Turner was born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, in 1859. As a young man, he trained as a furniture designer, while his oldest brother, Thomas, worked as an architect. William Turner (1859-1926) was born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire in 1859. As a young man he trained as a furniture designer, whilst his eldest brother, Thomas was an architectural draughtsman. By 1901, both had established themselves in London where they became decorative designers, mostly known for their many beautiful wallpaper prints.
William drew his characteristic birds combined with motifs inspired by hand painted Chinese wallpapers. He achieved international recognition in 1914 by showing his work at The International Decorative Arts Exhibition held in London. Between 1909 -1925, William Turner sold nearly sixty designs to GP & J Baker, including Rockbird (1912), Nympheus (1915), Japanese magnolia (1917), Eldon (1920) and Toucans (1922), all of which are now present in Svenskt Tenn’s range.
Svenskt Tenn became one of GP & J Baker first customers in Sweden when Josef Frank, who was inspired by their designs, introduced the company to Estrid Ericson in the 1930s. For her, it was important that Svenskt Tenn always provided products with exclusivity for its customers so at the end of the 1930s she entered into an agreement with GP & J Baker for exclusive rights to several of its designs.
Through the years, GP & J Baker’s historical patterns have been adapted to new printing techniques and the colourways have changed to suit the continuing evolution of decorating styles. In 1982, GP & J Baker was granted the Royal Warrant by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as suppliers of fabrics and wall coverings to the Royal Household. To this day, Baker continues to grow its reputation as one of the world’s innovators of fabric design.