Peter Collingwood (British, 1922-2008) a woven wall hanging, circa 1960

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Lot 5
Peter Collingwood (British, 1922-2008) a woven wall hanging, circa 1960

Sold for £ 3,375 (US$ 4,641) inc. premium
Peter Collingwood (British, 1922-2008) a woven wall hanging, circa 1960
Designed and made by Peter Collingwood and presented to Sir Gordon Russell on his retirement as Director of the Council of Industrial Design, woven in various shades of red, orange, yellow, purple and black with a geometric design, and with 'CoID' and '1944-59' each to separate panels at the lower edge,
approximately 304 cm high and 225cm wide.

Footnotes

  • See illustration

    Provenance: Sir Gordon Russell, Kingcombe, Broadway; where it hung on the landing

    Peter Collingwood, OBE, master weaver, was born in London in 1922. His father, a professor of physiology, died when he was 12. A dextrous boy, Collingwood followed his father into medicine and qualified as a doctor in 1946. He encountered his first loom in an occupational therapy department while serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps; and he was hooked. He trained initially with one of the most eminent weavers of her day, Ethel Mairet, at Ditchling, in Sussex, then with Barbara Sawyer in Putney and, in 1952, Alastair Morton in the Lake District. In 1953 he set up his own workshop in London, concentrating on weaving 3ft by 5ft rugs at the rate of three a week on a second-hand four-poster, eight-shaft, double countermarch loom. Heal's, Liberty and Primavera were among his early customers. From 1954 onwards he also taught at a number of London art schools, and in 1962 he began annual teaching visits to the US. In 1958 he moved to Digswell House in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, where the Digswell Arts Trust, created by the educationist Henry Morris, made flats with studios available at low rents to artists and craftsmen of whom Morris approved. It was here that Collingwood met his wife, Elizabeth, and they married in 1962. As the trust's first weaver, Collingwood made the acquaintance there of the trust's first potter, Hans Coper, with whom he was later to exhibit. It was also at Digswell House that he began to specialise in what he called macrogauzes, innovative, open-structured wall hangings with twisted and crossed threads in intricate patterns, woven on a new type of loom, developed by him, which freed the warp from the necessity of lying parallel to the selvage. With macrogauzes, as with his other work, it was the technique that came first, not the design. His designs, dramatic rather than pretty, exploited whatever the technique could offer him. He went from Digswell in 1964 to his final workshop, in Nayland, Suffolk, where his son, Jason Collingwood, was to join him as a weaver in the 1980s. Most commissions were for domestic pieces, but in his latter years he also worked on many large rugs and hangings for public places, including his pièce-de-résistance, the macrogauze for the new cultural centre in Kiryu, Japan, in 1997. He found that his teaching activities, as he contrived to keep fast-working students busy, sparked ideas for a series of definitive books, whose clarity was much admired, triggering many reprints. His first was The Techniques of Rug Weaving (1968), followed by The Techniques of Sprang (1974), The Techniques of Tablet Weaving (1982), The Maker's Hand: A Close Look at Textile Structures (1987), Rug Weaving Techniques: Beyond the Basics (1991), and The Techniques of Ply-split Braiding (1998). He staged solo exhibitions in the UK, US, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and joint shows in London with Hans Coper (in 1968 at the Victoria and Albert Museum and in 2002 at the Galerie Besson). A 1998 retrospective toured the UK, Sweden and the US, and his work is in many permanent collections, including the V&A.
    He died in 2008, aged 86, as he might have wished, active in his workshop to the very last.
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Peter Collingwood (British, 1922-2008) a woven wall hanging, circa 1960
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