Just before Christmas we had a visit to Blythe House and it was incredible. You arrive at this place and I expected a an old post office building as thats what Clare said it was, but it was like a prison. The metal gates you go through to get in, then the way you have to sign yourself in, the corridors you pass with the big metal doors and locks its so secure and strict. However when we finally sat down for the talk it was amazing. In 1978 the Bylthe House collection started and its an archive of work of a business or a person, but its not just a few pieces from the collection by this peson or company, buts the whole thing, not just the best pieces, the whole collection. There are in total 350 collections at Bylthe house. With this in mind I know understand why its so strict in this process, everything is weighed out before you can see it then its weighed when it goes back into storeage, this is how strict and percise this place is. Its brilliant that such care goes into it.
The pieces that they had got out for us were incredible, they had a fabric sample book from Heals, which was showing the fashion trends for that years Spring/Summer or A/W, but rather then having photos, drawings were done, actual fabric swatches were put in showing the thickness, the texture, how the colour would actually look, but it would also tell you how much the fabric costs in the quanity also. There were colour charts as well you could follow for when you went shopping to by these trends. I thought it was magnifient really was, you dont get fashion catologues like that anymore nowdays it only shows you photos of what it would look like sitting by a pool in the sunlight not actually just sitting behind a desk doing work. There were books showing fabric swatches as well that companys could make for you on commission, whether plain fabric, fabric with a stripe, or at the back of the book there were fabric swathes with deer print on (bambi), flowers cherrys printed on rather like the Cath Kidston of today.
There was work by Gordon Hunten, Barbara Golan, so many pieces, and these were just a selection for us, so goodness knows how many more they would have had.
It was an incredible visit and it was too short an hour and a half juts isnt enough, it was amazing.
You are allowed to take photos, but my camera got swiped of its memory so I lost mine unfortunately. It was a really good insight into what they have, and it would be amazing to go again and actually see things that would have a current project, not just because its amazing and you could spend the whole day pouring through fabric swatches.