Records of Stoddard International plc Design Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Design sketches and patterns maintained by the company as an inspirational resource for its designers. The designs were originally stored in 142 plan chest drawers, each drawer being allocated a design or artistic style title by the designers.

The description of the Design Archive is divided into the following sections, representing each plan chest drawer:  

This description is part of the main  Stoddard International plc  description.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Design Archive was held and managed by Stoddard International plc as a resource for its designers. The Archive was intended to provide inspiration to its design staff, using older designs, drawings and images of carpets that had been produced to inspire new ideas or resurrect old ones. It was not intended to be a comprehensive collection of all designs and carpets ever produced. The Archive consists predominantly of design sketches and patterns, brought together from the companies which formed part of the Stoddard International plc group. These include:  

By far the most voluminous parts of the Design Archive originate from A F Stoddard & Co Ltd and James Templeton & Co Ltd. The largest part of the archive was originally held at Templeton's factory at Glasgow Green and consisted of the design records of James Templeton & Co Ltd. When A F Stoddard & Co Ltd acquired Templeton in 1981, the Glasgow Green factory was vacated and all records were moved to the Stoddard factory at Elderslie. At the time of this transfer chenille manufacture was discontinued. As such, there was no operation need for the chenille design papers to be retained and they were destroyed. On arrival at Elderslie, the design papers of Stoddard and Templeton were merged and arranged into classified series relating to artistic styles, periods and subject that would be understood by the designers who used the Archive. At this time, design papers that were considered to be of no commercial or artistic merit were destroyed. As Stoddard acquired new companies, for example BMK, their design archives were amalgamated into the Design Archive.

A brief overview of the carpet design process is useful in understanding the records that are contained within the Design Archive.  

  • 1. The design sketches are original art works that were either commissioned, bought or designed in-house. The copyright of the designs was also acquired. Often designs would be photographed and pasted into albums as a record. Only a small number of these would have gone on to become carpets or rugs. Predominantly these sketches came from the Templeton factory and were retained as an inspiration for designers. These original designs were stored in the plan drawers numbered 95-142.
  • 2. Designs felt worthy of production would be sketched onto design paper as seen in the series of design patterns that were originally stored in plan drawers 1-94. Design patterns are the transfer of design sketches onto design paper that would show the number of horizontal shots to be included and give information to the staff that set up the looms for weaving. They were in most instances painted upon paper, but the collection also includes some very large colour photographic reproductions and also a number created using Computer Assisted Design (CAD).
  • 3. The design would then go to the colourist who would select the appropriate yarn for the carpet. Colours may not necessarily match exactly those of the design and it was the job of the colourist to interpret the design. A colour sample of a design would be made up to show how the colour reacted to one another. Detailed information on the colours to be used would be added to the design. The design would go to the spooler who would set up the loom ready to weave the carpet.
  • 4. If a design went into production, a reference number would be added e.g. 4/5948. The number before the stroke denotes the main base colour or "ground" of the carpet. The first digit after the slash indicate the design range. Design ranges would start at dispersed number internals e.g. 2000, 4000, 6000 to allow for the range to expand.
  • 5. Marketing materials in the form of lithograph images with details of the ranges would be produced. Copies of these lithographs were retained in the Design Archive either pasted into albums, loose, or bundled together to make catalogues. Occasionally, more detailed marketing material or publications showcasing the carpets would be created.

The Design Archive consists of primary source material showing the methods by which carpets were designed and subsequently manufactured. As well as being of artistic merit, the archive also demonstrates the technical methods undertaken from initial sketches of potential carpets designs through to their transfer to design paper and the information needed in order to weave the carpet itself.

Arrangement

The collection was originally stored in 142 drawers, categorised by Stoddard by artistic style. Thus there is no chronology to the way in which these designs were organised, and each drawer could have consisted of designs from one or more different companies that came to be part of Stoddard International plc. No rearrangement of the designs has been undertaken, and they remain in the order in which they were in on removal from the factory.

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Description compiled by Sam Maddra Sommerville, Project Archivist (Stoddard-Templeton Design Archive), June 2011.