Nigel Henderson & Eduardo Paolozzi: Hammer Prints Ltd. 1954–75

Exhibition

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Text

This exhibition, held at Firstsite in Colchester, explored the history and legacy of Hammer Prints Ltd, a venture established by Eduardo Paolozzi and Nigel Henderson in 1954 as a vehicle for their self-declared “attack on the craft field using the silk-screen as the media to be exploited”. Working in partnership, the artists created a series of designs which were applied to textiles, wallpapers, ceramics and homewares.

We worked directly with artwork acetates1 and archival materials to restore and reproduce the patterns for the exhibition, in their original colours and at their original scale. Taking Firstsite’s expansive walls as a blank canvas, we reproduced the original wallpapers to cover the walls of the gallery entrance. For the main curved wall of the building, Henderson & Paolozzi’s own experiments with magnification and enlargements were echoed in a series of graphic cutouts from their Sea Beasts2 series, which drew visitors through the building to the galleries themselves.


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Publication

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Digital

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We designed a book to accompany the Hammer Prints exhibition—the first to be published on the subject of Henderson and Paolozzi’s partnership and work for the brand. Containing a broad selection of archival material gathered by exhibition curator Michelle Cotton, alongside essays by Robin Spencer and Lesley Jackson, the book presents a comprehensive history of Hammer Prints, tracing its development from inception to its eventual dissolution and legacy.

The design builds upon that which we devised for the exhibition, showcasing Hammer Prints patterns and products alongside contextual images of the artists’ sketchbooks, company documents and full-bleed reproductions of their wallpaper and fabric designs.