Elizabeth Tomalin, textile designer: designs and fabric samples

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains textile designs, pattern books, photographs and press cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Elizabeth Tomalin (1912-2012) was born in Dresden and in the 1920s spent time in Vienna and at art school in Berlin. In the 1930s she fled Nazi Germany and, following a spell working in Paris for a textile designer, she settled in London. As the war started she met and married Miles Tomalin, a Spanish Civil War veteran. She found work at the architect Erno Goldfinger's studio in Primrose Hill, where she was employed doing architectural drawings and, as the war developed, she went to the Ministry of Information and worked with Abram Games, the graphic designer responsible for some of the most iconic propaganda and public information posters the government produced during the war. In the 1950s she returned to designing textiles and was head of Marks and Spencer's textile print department. In her 60s she developed her interest in psychotherapy and combined it with her belief in the restorative power of art, travelling to New York to study art therapy. She returned to Germany in the 1970s, teaching art therapy there and in Switzerland and Austria until she was 94. In her 90s she took up embroidery. She is the grandmother of designer Thomas Heatherwick.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Given by Elizabeth Tomalin, 2011

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Corporate Names