A visit to the Josef Frank exhibition

Juliet and I have long admired the work of designer and architect Josef Frank (1885-1967) – so last week we made a bee-line for the current exhibition which is on at London’s Fashion & Textile Museum.  You may have seen our post of his Tulip fabric on Instagram.


I first came across Josef Frank’s work years ago in Juliet’s flat as we were starting to work together. She had upholstered a bench in her kitchen with the Celotocaulis print, originally designed by Josef Frank in 1930.

Celotocaulis Josef Frank

It is a hairy, rooty, green gooseberry like fabric.  I loved its clean aesthetic and gentle subversion: it’s ugly and beautiful, all at the same time. Fruit and flowers appear very often in fabric design, but hairy roots less often.

Frank’s designs are saturated with colour on clean backgrounds – often white, sometimes black. It’s really joyful fabric. Look at this Goldfish…


Spot the snail?


I love the optimism and joyful colour he uses, a particular tonic on a rainy day.  The curator of the exhibition points out that in his work, Frank is creating an escape, a paradise away from the reality of the interwar period and the Second World War.  Here he is


And here is a delicious Italian supper.  Look at that Octopus…

italian dinner

We’re working on some fabric by the metre designs in the studio at the moment and we’ve been trying to make the repeat smaller. Then we saw this beautiful armchair and remembered that we loved the gaps. For us, a large repeat creates a more interesting, less uniform pattern when it is cut up and laid over a shape for upholstery.


I think this pink and green design was one of my favourites of the whole show.


It was a wonderful exhibition.  If you have the chance, go!

The Josef Frank exhibition is on at The Fashion & Textile Museum, Bermondsey, London


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