Frederick Burrows: Textile Designs

10 November - 22 December 2023

In their final year of training, students at design schools in the early 20th century made their own original designs having previously copied those of others. These designs for textiles and wallpaper by Frederick Burrows include studies of past masters such as William Morris and also his own prize winning original designs, exhibited at the National Competition for the Schools of Art, held at the Victoria & Albert Museum.


Burrows worked as an articled pupil in the studio of Christopher Dresser from 1899 to 1901. He studied at Putney School of Art and Design, where he produced a wooden hanging cabinet exhibited at the National Competition for the Schools of Art in 1900, and two original textile designs in the Competition in 1902, included in this exhibition. He received a silver medal for his efforts (no gold medals, nor other silver medals, were awarded in the 'Designs for woven textiles' section of the competition), and received special mention from the examiners for "a tasteful design executed in a thoroughly workmanlike manner." 


After two years with Dresser, Burrows had the experience and practical knowledge to set out on his own as a freelance designer. He produced for a short time, primarily in Manchester and sometimes in collaboration with Rex Silver, before becoming disillusioned with the commercialisation of his work. He resolved to become an art teacher and enrolled at the Royal College of Art, and while still a young man was appointed Principal of the Portsmouth School of Art. He ended his career as an Art Inspector for the Ministry of Education.



Right: Wallpaper design in green and red, c.1902, watercolour, gouache and pencil on paper