Exhibition at Hogarth’s House
8 February to 27 April 2014, admission free
Marthe Armitage has designed and printed wallpapers since the 1960s. After studying painting at Chelsea School of Art in the 1940s, she married an architect and they brought up their children at Strand on the Green. The exhibition includes her first wallpaper, designed for her home and based on her drawings of angelica which grows wild beside the river there. The exhibition displays samples of most of her wallpapers along with some of her drawings.
At first Marthe printed her lino-cuts onto lining paper on the floor, until she acquired an old cast iron offset lithographic proofing press. Today she works with her daughter, Joanna Broadhurst, printing by hand to order. Marthe prefers muted colours as she thinks wallpapers should be in the background. “My inspiration has always been the mystery of pattern, which is as basic to sight as music is to hearing. The best place to see pattern is on a wall. Plants lend themselves so easily to repeat pattern and plant designs came first. Later, after looking at toile de jouy fabrics the thought came of drawing imaginary worlds “, says Marthe. “All my information comes from drawing and all my ideas and inspiration from looking at God’s work”.
Marthe Armitage’s work follows in a long tradition of hand-printing in Chiswick, running from Hogarth’s own work preparing his plates in his studio/workshop, through the Chiswick Press, established on Chiswick Mall in 1811, Sanderson’s Wallpapers from the 1870s and the Typographic Etching Company whose owner, Alfred Dawson, was the first to try and preserve Hogarth’s House in 1890.
The Trust has been delighted to support Hogarth’s House in putting on this first exhibition in the programme of events for the 250th commemoration. We contributed a great deal of practical help in putting up this exhibition and some funding from a generous grant from the John Paul Getty Jnr Trust.