Curwen Press papers

The revival of book arts promoted by Noel Rooke at the Central School, during the first

quarter of the 20th century, manifested itself in a variety of ways. The popularity of wood-

engraving amongst artists ( Ravilious etc. ) during the 1920's and '30's was one consequence

of this.

Naturally, the widespread interest in book crafts made bookbinding a popular activity at art

school and beyond. The homespun style popular between the Wars was in distinct contrast

to the fine bindings of the earlier Arts and Crafts Movement. Interwar bookbinders favoured

a binding made of paper covered boards. A choice of contemporary, yet historically authentic,

pattern papers was published by the Curwen Press to satisfy this demand.

Originally, the papers were designed as a repeat of wood engraved blocks. To meet the

demands of economical production the coloured papers of the 1930's were printed

using lithography.

Nash, Bawden and Ravilious as well as Margaret Calkin James and Enid Marx all

designed papers for Curwen.

Rennies Seaside Modern are offering some

examples of these pattern papers from the original archive

- please enquire to be sent list of available papers

curwen pattern paper

Curwen famously published a sample book of papers in 1928.

It was not surprising that the artists associated with these designs began to consider the

related area of repeat design in wallpapers.

Edward Bawden designed a series of lino-cut printed wallpapers which he printed by hand

in the attic of Brick House in Great Bardfield. These designs were printed on double-crown

sheets of paper in the manner of authentic 18th century wallpapers.

This cottage industry was transformed into a commercial venture when Curwen published

a selection of Bawden's designs printed on sheets by lithography.

Bawden famously used an old garden roller to press the paper onto the large lino-cuts.

This produced, to Bawden's eye, a pleasingly uneven effect. The lithographers at the

Curwen Press worked hard to reproduce this effect in their lithography.

Curwen wallpapers were first published in 1926.

original sheets of edward bawden designed wallpaper,

available for sale in limited quantity, p.o.a.

curwen press wallpaper by Bawden

sahara 1928 (27.75" x 29.5")

waves and fishes 1929 (30" x 21.75")


original Edward Bawden wallpaper sheet Edward Bawden original wallpaper sheet

node 1933 (33.75" 21.5")

riviera 1929 (34.25" x 21.5")


Edward Bawden original wallpaper sheet

napkins and fruit 1926 (23.5" 29.5")


Edward Bawden original wallpaper sheet

trees and cows 1927 (21.75" x 22")


to order please email karen or telephone 01303 242427 or 07986 834084 anytime


greetings cards available with Sahara and Trees & Cows pattern @ £1.50 each

to return to index page please click here


www.rennart.co.uk