About GP & J Baker
Today, GP & J Baker continues to grow its reputation as one of the world’s innovators of fabric design. The largest and most comprehensive showroom in Chelsea Harbour’s Design Centre showcases fabrics, wallcoverings, furniture and trimmings from GP & J Baker and its related brands, Threads and Baker Lifestyle, as well as Kravet, Lee Jofa, Brunschwig & Fils. In addition, the company also produces luxury fabrics, wallpapers and accessories under licence for Mulberry Home. A second beautiful showroom in the ‘Design Street’ of Paris, rue du Mail, also carries these outstanding brands.
Our motivated teams of professionals are passionate about their various roles enabling them to deliver an exceptional level of day to day customer service. Orders are delivered swiftly and in optimum condition by our efficient packing and dispatching department.
In addition, our specialist designers can undertake specific bespoke projects, whether this involves adapting an already existing product and design, or developing individual commissions to fulfill a particular brief.
Holder of the Royal Warrant Since 1982
GP & J Baker has been the proud holder of Her Majesty The Queen’s Royal Warrant since 1982 in recognition of the supply of GP & J Baker fabrics and wallcoverings to the Royal household.
The history of the Royal Warrant can be traced back to medieval times when competition for Royal favour was intense and the Monarch had the pick of the best tradespeople. By the 15th century, the Lord Chamberlain, as head of the Royal Household, formally appointed tradespeople and in the 18th century, tradesmen began displaying the Royal Arms on their premises and stationery – a practice that continues to this day.
A BIT of BAKER HISTORY
The company was founded in 1884 by brothers George Percival and James Baker establishing an inheritance full of innovation and drama. Avid and discerning collectors of rare and iconic designs, the brothers began what has become one of the largest and most exciting privately owned textile archives in the world.
From left to right standing – Henry Baker, James Baker From left to right seated – Arthur Baker, George Percival Baker, Frederick Baker
George Percival and James are shown here with their other three brothers in the days before they arrived in England. Initially concerned with the import of Persian, Turkish and Turkoman carpets which they would re-export to Paris and the United States, they gradually progressed to textiles. George Percival’s respect for Oriental art influenced the company’s early printed designs; many copied from imported embroideries and carpet patterns.
Left to right: Company founders, George Baker Senior and George Percival Baker.
The Swaislands Fabric Company acquired by Baker.
Their father, George Baker, who was born in 1822, had begun his career as a gardener distinguishing himself by designing the British Embassy gardens in Therapia, outside Constantinople (Istanbul). Constantinople was then a great emporium of Asiatic produce, and Baker’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to the export of Turkish goods, eventually establishing a London base. He then sent two of his five sons, George Percival and James, to England where together they set up GP & J Baker. Shortly after, they purchased the renowned Swaisland Fabric Printing Company, gaining most of its printing blocks and huge archive of pattern books dating back to the 18th century.
By 1893 GP & J Baker was employing some of the leading Arts and Crafts designers of the time and an in-house studio led by W.J. Thomas began developing designs from the extensive archive. George Percival constantly added to the archive, notably with the purchase of over 400 antique block prints from the Holzach studio in Paris around 1910, and had collected about 250 rare Indian printed cottons by 1920.
The company’s most popular designs printed in the early 1900s showed naturalistic drawn English garden flowers, and this became part of the enduring GP & J Baker style. George Percival Baker was a passionate horticulturalist himself, becoming a well-known figure in the Royal Horticultural Society.
A number of GP & J Baker designs have been in production for 50 to 100 years, each re-issue adding another layer of history to their considerable charm. More recently some have been translated into woven fabrics, embroideries and wallpapers. Always progressive, but maintaining strong links with its past, GP & J Baker will long continue to decorate the future.
Workers using wood printing blocks applying textile inks.
Designs from this rich resource are skillfully adapted to meet with today’s tastes and colour palettes and in addition to developing its own unique handwriting, GP & J Baker continues to grow its reputation as one of the world’s innovators of fabric design.
A map of the location from the English style gardens set in Turkey, designed by George Baker.
The Baker Archives
The GP & J Baker archive consists of a spectacular range of documents that has provided inspiration for the design studio since the company was founded. The collection was started by George Percival and James Baker in the early 1900s and today represents the largest privately owned textile archive in the world.
The archive is amazingly diverse ranging from Chinese wallpapers, clothing, church vestments and Peruvian tunics to quilts and curtains. Italian and Turkish velvets, beautiful Indian prints, French toiles, Indonesian batiks, early English glazed chintz prints and Art Nouveau original paintings make up this amazing collection which probably contains something from each of the last 100 centuries as well as from half the globe.
Original fabric book swatches showing colourways.
Unique to this remarkable archive are over one hundred volumes of pattern books containing thousands of samples and designs from the 18th and 19th centuries. These large vellum-bound books were acquired by George Percival Baker when he bought the Swaisland Printworks, home to the leading British calico printer of the early Victorian era. They provide an extraordinary insight into all the major trends during the 1800s and are considered to be ‘a reliable history of design and printing in England’.
All of our designers, especially the GP & J Baker studio, make constant use of the archive. From this treasure trove has come such stunning large scale prints as ‘Nympheus’ and ‘Magnolia’ as well as the more delicate ‘Oriental Bird’ and ‘Peony and Blossom’. A Regency pattern book provided the design for the elegant silk, ‘Perandor Damask’ which was also translated into a dramatic wallpaper. To date only a fraction of this resource has been used which means that our studios will be able to explore its rich heritage for decades to come.