Modernism’s best kept secret

We are proud to introduce an absolute gem of a C20th designer brought back to life thanks to the fine craftsmanship of Irish brand Ceadogán Rugs. 



Mainie Jellett, one of the most important, defining Irish Artists of the 20th century, is rarely mentioned in the Interiors Press. Part of the explosion of ‘Modernism’ in 1920’s Europe and a notable contributor to the ‘Art Deco’ movement that revolutionised thinking in design, colour and composition, the Dublin-born artist designed numerous rugs throughout her short life but few were ever made.   A student of Walter Sickert, Jellett was quick to move to Paris to hone her craft with  Cu-beast” Andre Lhote (as Edith Somerville described him). Albert Gleizes, who she later worked with, describes a first encounter when Jellett and her lifetime companion Evie Hone turned up on his doorstep one day in 1921 as wholly intimidating.“Their tenacity, expressed in a soft voice, appeared formidable and increased my desire to shy away,” he wrote. “But after a rather long talk from which I constantly tried to extricate myself while they pressed me ever more insistently, I had to surrender  and reluctantly decide to let them ‘work’.”  




Her terror tactics paid off and Jellet became a new name to watch in Paris. She even caught the eye of her fellow compatriot Eileen Gray who she met in 1922 through a mutual friend Kate Weatherby.  It was Gray who encouraged Jellet to produce her own rug designs and five years later Jellett designed and had rugs made at the Gray Wyld workshop in rue de Visconti. Her circular rug design of 1933, which you will see at the show, is directly inspired by Gray’s rug Tapis Ronde which she created for the living room of E1027. Jellet exhibited her first carpet design in her solo exhibition of 1928. It was in gouache, on paper mounted on card, fragile and slight, accompanied by a pencil drawing on paper annotated with details of colour. This was to be her general approach; all her finished rug and carpet designs were in gouache, a more controlled medium as far as colour was concerned. As well as Gray Wyld, her rugs were executed by Dun Emer Guild and The Irish Countrywomen’s Association, while her mother and sister Bay, also produced a number of rugs in their home at Fitzwilliam Square.



Having been approached by her trustees Jellett estate, Ceadogán Rugs now produce twelve designs based on her original gouache drawings, in limited editions of 10 at their workshops in Co. Wexford. The current collection made by Ceadogán are flexible in terms of size and a small number of the designs can be produced in alternative colourways as  specified by Mainie Jellett in her original instructions. All the rugs are made in 100% pure wool but can also be made using silk/wool (55%/45%) mix. Midcentury Modern will be your chance to see some of them live before they head back to Ireland. Snap one up before they are gone. These really are super special collector’s pieces. Ceadogán are showing next to fellow Irish designers Mourne Textiles in the gallery upstairs at Christison Hall.

Here is a sweet film about their farmyard studio in Wexford, Ireland

MIDCENTURY MODERN Buy tickets at a discounted price before they are gone here Sunday 15 March 2015, Christison Hall, Dulwich College More info:        

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