The unique collection of 1600 fragile monochromatic glass photographic plates that make up the William Liddell collection are an insight into the heyday of Irish Linen design and craftmanship. Reclaimed, by Ulster University, from the closed Ewart-Liddell Linen factory at Donacloney County Down they record the process, linenware and clientele of this globally renowned company across much of the last century.
We worked in collaboration with a textile print designer and a weaver, who created personal work in response to the collection. The flexible identity system was built around the “wee blue blossom” flax flower, and was designed to link the industrial past of Belfast to the present resurgence of Irish Linen design excellence.
The plates were digitised and are presented online as a valuable design archive, along with photographed artefacts collected from a series of linen community roadshows. We created a series of large format books to celebrate different aspects of the collection, bring the roadshow stories to life and document the contemporary work process in response to it. An exhibition, displaying the plates, tells the history of the William Liddell company and sets the collection in context with the contemporary work.