Visiting the Anna Maria Garthwaite House, Spitalfields

Posted in on site by Editor on April 12, 2013

I earlier noted the Huguenots of Spitalfields Festival taking place now in London (8-21 April), but Alicia Weisberg-Roberts usefully draws our attention to this gem, the Anna Maria Garthwaite House, by Christ Church, which will be open for visits on Tuesday, 16 April, in conjunction with the festival (the celebration is occasioned by the 250th anniversary of Garthwaite’s death). Photographs of the interior are available at Spitalfields Life, an amazing blog generally. For details and tickets see the Huguenots of Spitalfields Festival.

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From Spitalfields Life:

IMG_6907Anna Maria Garthwaite, the most celebrated texile designer of the eighteenth century, bought this house in Spitalfields when she was forty years old  in 1728, just five years after it was built. Its purchase reflected the success she had already achieved but, living here at the very heart of the silk industry, she produced over one thousand patterns for damasks and brocades during the next thirty-five years.

The first owner of the house was a glover who used the ground floor as a shop with customers entering through the door upon the right, while the door on the left gave access to the rooms above where the family lived. For Anna Maria Garthwaite, the ground floor may also have been used to receive clients who would be led up to the first floor where commissions could be discussed and deals done. The corner room on the second floor receives the best light, uninterrupted by the surrounding buildings, and this is likely to have been the workroom, most suited to the creation of her superlative designs painted in watercolours – of which nearly nine hundred
are preserved today at the Victoria & Albert Museum. . . .

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