Papers of Albert Christopherson, Head of the Department of Graphic Design

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Artworks by Albert Edward Christopherson including landscapes, townscapes, portraits as well as designs for murals, heraldry, greetings cards and public house signs. The works are in a variety of media including pencil, watercolour and pastels. Also included are photographs of other artworks by Christopherson and a programme for a pageant in Leicester, which he designed.

Administrative / Biographical History

Albert Edward Christopherson was born in 1902 in Cartmel, Lancashire (now Cumbria) to a farming family. He had one brother who also became a designer, working for a linoleum factory. Christopherson attended Lancaster Royal Grammar School and then in 1920 the Lancaster School of Art. He secured the only scholarship for Art available at the time for the whole of Lancashire, which enabled him to attend the Royal College of Art in London from 1922 to 1925. On graduation he immediately began work at the Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School, teaching in the Department of Drawing and Painting, Decoration and Design. He was soon made Head of the Department of Women’s Crafts, which taught embroidery, dress design, millinery, lace making and weaving. In 1935 Christopherson became Head of the Department of Industrial Design, which taught subjects including costume design, poster and sign art, illustration, engraving and stained glass. In his personal career Christopherson focused on interior design, particularly retail and entertainment buildings. In 1956 he was made head of the new Department of Graphic Design, retiring in 1963.

In 1928 Christopherson married Kathleen Marfitt, by whom he had two children, Martindale, born 1932, and Romola, born 1939. Christopherson and Kathleen were keen on amateur dramatics and were involved in many theatrical productions staged by the Leicester College of Arts and Crafts Dramatic Society. Kathleen died of cancer in December 1952, aged 47, and Martindale also died young. However, Romola went on to have a distinguished career as a senior civil servant. Christopherson and his second wife Ceridwen retired to Bowness on Windermere, Cumbria, in 1963, where Christopherson died in 1997 at the age of 95.

On her death in 2003 Ceridwen Christopherson gave the university a lump sum “ for the benefit of the Arts and Design Faculty”. The fund is used to create the Christopherson Collection, a snapshot of the best work produced by graduates on a range of art and design courses.

Arrangement

The items have been arranged into 16 series.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. External researchers are advised to make an appointment with the Archivist.

Acquisition Information

Donated to De Montfort University by Christopherson's great-niece in October 2013.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Katharine Short, Archivist, March 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Photography of items is permitted for private research purposes only. Copyright is retained by the family.

Related Material

Further information about Christopherson's career can be found in Committee minutes and university prospectuses. The March 1953 issue of Duo student magazine includes a piece on Christopherson. The archive also holds his costume designs for the 1932 Pageant of Leicester.