Svenskt Tenn’s founder Estrid Ericson travelled a lot to different places around the world. She always looked for beautiful items and textiles that she could take home and sell in the store on Strandvägen in Stockholm. The Magnolia textile is from the English textile company GP & J Baker, whose designs were often based on traditional historical prints. Estrid Ericson began buying textiles from them as early as the 1930s.
This pattern was designed in 1912 by William Turner, drawing heavily from the tradition of Chinese hand-painted wallpapers. Turner had been studying Chinese painting for several years, attracted by the flat decorative arrangements and subtle colourings of bird and flower pictures. His challenge was to convert the imagery of single panels into repeated structures, and to bring the number of colours into a practicable range for block printing. This was achieved by careful balance of visual interests that keep the eye moving from bird to flower to branch.
GP & J Baker is a family-run company founded in 1884 by brothers George Percival and James Baker. Together with their father they travelled around the Far East and Asia purchasing designs, textiles, sketches and thousands of pattern books that are today in the Baker’s sizeable textile archives. Svenskt Tenn became one of Baker’s first customers in Sweden when Josef Frank, inspired by Baker’s designs, introduced the company to Estrid Ericson in the 1930s.