Posted on | March 23, 2009 | 4 Comments
One the lesser known yet successful British decorative artists of the late Arts & Crafts era was George (G.R.) Rigby. Known for his skill in the design of large and very complex stencils, Rigby was also accomplished in designing stencils with more delicate and flowing lines, characteristics not often associated with his craft. In praise of his design prowess, designer W. G. Sutherland Jr. a contemporary of Rigby, was quoted as saying, “There is one thing he is supreme in and that is the beauty of line he gets with his figure stencils. I would not even except Walter Crane, who has not that purity of line and grace in his figures that characterises Mr. Rigby’s work.”
Being a skilled designer lead to commissions from several wallpaper manufacturers, particularly the giant Lightbown, Aspinall & Co. Here are two of their more popular friezes designed by G.R. Rigby:
The Stanley frieze (1910) with its tulip motif was machine printed with its graduated tones being applied with an “aerograph” (the name for airbrushes at the time). Many are familiar with it today as we reproduced it a few years ago and now call it Tulip.
Another Rigby favorite is this, the swagged Ontario frieze from 1913, also a machine printed frieze with “aerograph” fades added. It also “lives again”, now by the name Eleanor.