Special Collections: Stoddard-Templeton

Pochoir volumes from Stoddard-Templeton Collection

We hold the design library of carpet manufacturers A. F. Stoddard of Elderslie and James Templeton of Glasgow, once the world’s pre-eminent carpet designers. When it entered receivership in January 2005, Stoddard International held a nationally significant collection of design archives, design library and heritage carpets. The Glasgow School of Art Library, along with Glasgow University Archives Services and Glasgow Life formed a partnership to purchase and safeguard these collections for current and future researchers. Grant funding enabled the 3 partners to purchase the collection, with the archives residing with GUAS, the carpets with Glasgow Museums, and the design library with GSA Library. In addition, a select number of smaller carpets entered our Archives and Collections.

The Design Library was the company’s in-house library that supported the design process of its designers. It was used to inspire the company’s designers, or to enable them to source motifs that could then be incorporated into their own textile designs. The library was often the starting point in the design process, providing initial ideas for subsequently developed designs.

The library is a rich source of material in the areas of carpet design, textiles, ornament, flat pattern, and textile interiors. It was amassed from the mid-19th century right up to the early 21st century. Templeton’s and Stoddard’s were alive to contemporary continental developments in art and design, and a good proportion of their library material, especially from the 1880s to the 1930s, was acquired from abroad. The Stoddard Design Library includes volumes from the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Finland, China, Japan and India. Many of the volumes are now extremely rare, and often unique. Particular highlights include 11 volumes in pochoir by Emile-Allain Seguy, of which the only comparable collection internationally resides at Princeton.

Interwoven Connections

The exhibition Interwoven Connections ran from 8 November 2013 to 11 January 2014 in the Mackintosh Museum at Glasgow School of Art and featured books, folios and plates from the Stoddard-Templeton collection. Through these artefacts the exhibition sought to provide insight into the Stoddard-Templeton design studios, their designers, and the carpet design process.

Interwoven Connections: The Stoddard Templeton Design Studio and Design Library, 1843-2005 from The Glasgow School of Art on Vimeo.

Interwoven Connections followed a programme of research on the companies and their library by GSA textiles lecturer Helena Britt,  and was supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. A number of public events accompanied the exhibition

Company Histories

James Templeton and Co. was established in 1843, making Chenille Axminster, Wilton and Brussels carpets. Technological innovation and design skill brought the company considerable worldwide success throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, with its products in high demand in the domestic and commercial markets. It employed artists of international calibre such as Charles Voysey, Walter Crane and Frank Brangwyn, with their carpets used in Coronations and in liners such as the Titanic.

In their 1950s heyday they were Glasgow’s biggest single employers, with 7,000 employees. Glasgow carpets were exported to all four corners of the globe, with major commissions for parliaments, concert halls and cultural institutions, along with domestic interiors. Famous Templeton carpets include the Regatta Restaurant carpets for the 1951 Festival of Britain, and the Twelve Apostles carpet made for the Paris Exhibition of 1867.

In 1983 Templeton’s merged with another local carpet manufacturer, A. F. Stoddard of Elderslie, to form Stoddard International. A. F. Stoddard had been founded in 1862 by Arthur Francis Stoddard, an American who refused to live in the United States because of the continued slave trade. He regularly addressed abolition meetings in Glasgow, which had tended to side with the South during the American Civil War because of its strong cotton and tobacco routes. Stoddard’s went on to produce carpets for the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Dickens and Jones, Epsom race-course, and Liberty’s.

Notable Carpets by James Templeton & Co.

  • Coronation carpet of Elizabeth II, Westminster Abbey (1952)
  • Coronation carpet of George V, Westminster Abbey (1911)
  • Coronation carpet of George VI, Westminster Abbey (1937)
  • Baptism of Edward VII, St George’s Chapel, Windsor
  • House of Commons, Westminster
  • Senate, Canberra
  • Parliament House, Wellington
  • House of Assembly, South Africa
  • Presidential Palace, Dominican Republic
  • White House, Washington
  • Royal Reception Room, First International Exhibition 1851
  • Regatta Restaurant, Festival of Britain
  • Burning Bush carpet, Glasgow Cathedral

Notable Carpets by A. F. Stoddard & Co.

  • Marriage of Elizabeth II, Westminster Abbey (1947)
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
  • Gleneagles Hotel
  • Liberty’s, London

Timeline

1802 James Templeton is born in Campbeltown. As a young man he works in Glasgow, and spends four years in Mexico, before entering shawl manufacture in Paisley
July 1839 Templeton patents the application of the Chenille process to textile manufacture
1841 Templeton’s produces a rug for the baptism of the later King Edward VII at St George’s Chapel, Windsor
1843 James Templeton & Co. carpet manufacturers founded in King Street, Glasgow
1845-1850 Templeton’s in litigation to protect its monopoly on the application of the Chenille process
1851 Templeton’s exhibits medallion carpets, table coverings and hearth rugs at the Great Exhibition. Its contributions are favourably reviewed in the Art-Journal’s catalogue of the exhibition. The company also provides the carpet for the Royal Reception Room.
1853 Templeton’s begins production of Brussels carpets using the Jacquard process. Wilton carpets follow
31 Dec 1856 The King Street factory is destroyed by fire. Within a month Templeton’s reopens at Glasgow Green
1860 Power looms are first introduced to the Templeton factory
1861 Abraham Lincoln elected. His wife commissions a Templeton carpet for the White House showing fruits, flowers and wreaths
1862 American Alfred Francis Stoddard acquires the bankrupt Ronalds and Co. paisley shawl mill and begins producing carpets at Elderslie, Renfrewshire.
1867 The Twelve Apostles carpet, showing Christ surrounded by the Apostles, is exhibited by Templeton’s at the Paris Exhibition. Another carpet from this year depicts Queen Victoria and Emperor Louis-Napoleon signing a peace treaty
1878 James Templeton retires. The firm passes to his sons John Stewart Templeton and James Templeton Jr
1882 James Templeton dies
1886 Templeton’s ceases production of  jacquard curtains after that section of its factory is destroyed by fire
1888 An ornate factory, modelled on the Doge’s Palace in Venice, is designed for Templeton’s on Glasgow Green by William Leiper
1 Nov 1889 A section of the new factory collapses in high winds during construction, killing 29
1892 The new Templeton’s factory opens
1895 A.F. Stoddard & Co. incorporated on London Stock Exchange.
1896 Walter Crane designs the Daffodil and Bluebell carpet. Other designers such as Voysey are also employed, as are a number of former students of the Glasgow School of Art.
1901 Templeton’s exhibits Persian designs at the Glasgow Exhibition
1911 Templeton’s provides the Coronation carpet for King George V
1912 Templeton’s provides carpets for the Titanic and Queen Mary liners
1914-1918 During the War, Templeton’s manufactures cloths for the War Office
1918 Stoddard’s acquires Ronald, Jack and Co. (founded in Paisley in 1870 from the remnants of Ronalds & Co.), along with the Caledonian Carpet Company of Stirling.
1930 Templeton’s produces carpets designed by Frank Brangwyn for the Pollard & Co. exhibition in London in October
1937 Templeton’s provides the carpets for the Coronation of George VI.
1938 Templeton’s builds its own pavilion at the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow to exhibit its designs
1939-1945 The Stoddard factory at Elderslie becomes a naval laundry as part of the war effort, servicing the hammocks, bedding and life jackets of ships on the Clyde. Blackwood Morton & Sons moves production from carpets into machine parts and electric hub motors
1947 Stoddard’s provides the carpet for Princess Elizabeth’s marriage in Westminster Abbey. It acquires its own wool mill from Douglas Reyburn and Co, yarn spinners and dyers of Kilmarnock.
1950s Templeton’s now the biggest single employer in Glasgow with 7,000 employees.
1951 Templeton’s produces a series of carpets for the Regatta Restaurant at the Festival of Britain, all inspired by atoms and crystallography and designed under the auspices of the Festival Pattern Group. Templeton presents carpets of distinction published.
1953 Templeton’s provides the carpets for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey.
1956 Templeton’s designs and manufactures carpets for the liner S. S. Arcadia.
1959 Stoddard’s acquires Henry Widnell & Stewart of Edinburgh (originally founded in the 1830s by Richard Whytock) which operates as a subsidiary.
1961 The Templeton film From Glasgow Green to Bendigo produced.
1962 The carpet makers: one hundred years of designing and manufacturing carpets of quality is published by Stoddard’s
1963 Templeton’s designs the Burning Bush carpet for Glasgow Cathedral.
1966 Stoddard’s granted Royal Warrant.
6 April 1978 Premiere of John Byrne’s play The Slab Boys at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, a semi-autobiographical account of his time as a Stoddard ‘slab boy’ or pigment grinder.
1980 Stoddard’s acquires Templeton’s and Kingsmead Carpets from the Guthrie Corporation.
1988 Stoddard’s acquires Sekers fabrics.
1991 Stoddard’s acquires the UK operation of Belgium’s Louis de Poortere
1998 Stoddard International incorporated.
2005 Stoddard International enters receivership.