In the summer of 1913, British art critic Roger Fry responded to the increasing influence of mass production in interior design by putting his underemployed creative friends to work producing artisanal textiles, furniture, carpets and other decorative items. Omega Workshops, as the enterprise was named, was an outpost of Bloomsbury in the heart of London’s Fitzrovia, where the likes of Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Nina Hamnett produced loose geometric patterns in bold colours, although it is often difficult to attribute individual contributions. Fortunately Fry was also able to call on high society friends such as Lady Ottoline Morrell (affectionately known by Hamnett as “that old bitch”) to buy the avant-garde designs. The Omega Workshops closed soon after the end of the First World War, but their reimagining of the everyday objects around us proved highly influential.
Fast and Furious, At home with Nina Hamnett, Nina Hamnett | portraits (Hamnett)
Strange Flowers guide to London part 2, Fitzrovia revisited, Pearls: Philip O’Connor (Fitzrovia)
Lady Ottoline Morrell | photographic portraits (Morrell)