from floor covering to art form

From the Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser of 7 October 1865 is a comprehensive article on linoleum – its characteristics and manufacture – a year after Frederick Walton established the Linoleum Manufacturing Company.  I’m guessing that Frederick couldn’t have imagined the artistic opportunities that he opened up with oxidising linseed oil.

Linoleum manufacture

These paper samples of linoluem design are held by The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Their story is attached to Museum’s record.

Powerhouse Museum - linoluem design samples 1927-1930

Linoleum as a floor covering provided opportunities for designers and artists to create a wide range of patterns to go underfoot.  Decades later, lino cutting emerged as a craft then an art form.

From Wikipedia, here’s a great example of modern lino cut work from Irena Sibley – When the Sun Took the Colours Away – 1992.  Creative Commons Attribution.

Irena Sibley-SunTookColoursAway

The art of bookplates

Bookplates denote ownership of a book.  They developed as an art form and became collectible.  Richard Weatherford from Alibris talks here about the history behind bookplates.
The Argus of 21 April 1934 features the lino-cut work of George D Perrottet.
To collectors of bookplates the name of George D. Perrottet will be familiar, and it will gratify his admirers to learn that his designs have been chosen for special review in the Year Book of the American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers. [….]  His most recent work represents a departure from the ordinary form of bookplate design, for Mr Perrottet has experimented successfully with lino-cut designs, which are peculiarly attractive in pattern and treatment. [….]

Collectors of lino-cuts will appreciate the charming effects to be got in this medium if no attempt is made to overreach its possibilities. […]

The Year Book also contains an interesting article by Mr. Perrottet himself, in which he describes in detail his method of cutting the designs on lino and printing them. His idea is that the medium is capable of effects peculiarly its own, particularly in colour work. In the plate reproduced, the sky is blue with a white cloud effect, the flowers and the name are in red, and the border and books grey.

The Sydney Morning Herald – 10 October 1935, writes on the value of bookplates to the purchasers (v the borrowers).


Pop over to The Australian Bookplate Society and their online gallery that displays the work of contemporary bookplate artists.