‘Very Sanderson’ at the Fashion & Textile Museum

Finally made it to the Sanderson exhibition, celebrating 150 years in business. Approaching the museum with it’s bright orange & pink exterior, you can immediately see why this is the perfect place to hold the exhibition (along with it’s connection with Zandra Rhodes.) The exhibition is a good size, held over two floors, with plenty to see but not overwhelming. Downstairs there are a couple of room sets that seem to have been thrown together at the last minute, but bypassing these you are welcomed with some stunning and intricate wallpaper pieces. From the most decorative phoenix bird with multiple layers of colour, to a textured gold background with vibrant cobalt blue leaves. There are fabrics hanging in groups from the ceiling, recreating the displays used by Sanderson in the past at trade exhibitions of the time. The advertising examples from the last few decades are fantastic, with celebrity endorsements from the likes of Jilly Cooper! Upstairs has more examples of some of the fantastic wallpapers produced, along with the classic matching room-set decorating entirely in ‘Little Chelsea’ rose design. This then leads to the a few small room-sets featuring the newer collections from the last few years. The exhibition ends as you round the corner to the end of the mezzanine level where a couple of artists have been commissioned to make their own interpretations of ‘Sanderson’. First you see Tracey Neuls’ fun and playful shoes, beautifully designed and covered in fabric from the Vintage collection. We are presented with a sculpture by Nina Saunders, an uncanny twist on an upholstered armchair. However, as you approach you are surprised by what appears to be a fox burrowing in to the back of the warped & twisted chair. A clever and uncomfortable conclusion to the very familiar.

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