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Published: 16 February 2019

By Andy Ross

Design in the National Archives

A collection of papers, ephemera and articles is held in the National Archives in London's Kew. It contains some fascinating records including these which show Victorian design.

The idea for this particular collection, begun in 1836, came from Victorian manufacturers and designers who thought that British craft was being undermined by shoddy manufacture and that most subjective of things, "bad taste". In an attempt to inform the public and the industries of wallpaper, furniture and textiles manufacture, the collection was started and now there is a comprehensive database of artefacts right up to 1991. 

This particular YouTube video is about the change in design over an extended period - Gothic Revival to the 1960's. It presents the way that people have seen style and how that sensibility has changed over the decades, and it shows how taste influenced design. The presentation also touches on morality and utility, including the copyright system which protects design. And a lot of the items shown in the video are of the textiles of each period. Yes, a visit to the National Archives is definitely on the cards!