Linda Parry obituary


Linda Parry, who has died aged 78 of breast most cancers and pneumonia, was a museum curator identified internationally because the main knowledgeable on the textiles of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts motion. Anybody and everybody with an curiosity in these topics – museums, collectors, sellers and the broader public – got here to Linda for assist and recommendation, which she shared with generosity and likewise modesty. Though her experience ranged a lot wider than Morris and his circle, she devoted a lot of her 34-year curatorial profession on the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and her years of retirement, to researching, publishing and curating exhibitions on these topics.

Linda established her popularity with two necessary books: William Morris Textiles (1983) and Textiles of the Arts and Crafts Motion (1988), each nonetheless in print. Whereas others had printed on Morris (much less so on associated textiles), the depth and rigour of her archival analysis into the histories of designers and manufacturing corporations was mixed together with her deep data of how textiles are designed and made. To those she added a discerning eye for materials, texture and color, a perception that her protagonists had, in her phrases, “elevated [textiles] to a better artwork type”, and deep empathy with Morris’s dedication to his craft, his integrity and likewise his politics.

Linda’s personal needlework expertise supplied her with technical understanding that distinguished her from most artwork history-trained teachers within the discipline and was honed by years of detailed research of objects within the V&A’s assortment.

Her 1996 V&A exhibition celebrating the centenary of Morris’s dying cemented Linda’s management of her discipline. Protecting the total vary of Morris’s work as artist and designer in over 500 reveals, this blockbuster exhibition was the biggest ever dedicated to Morris and, by a substantial margin, the preferred V&A exhibition for almost half a century.

Linda Parry textiles creator for the V&A
Parry labored carefully with colleagues with differing fields of experience

{The catalogue}, which she edited and to which she contributed essays and catalogue entries, additionally mirrored Linda’s collaborative nature. Exhibition making, like day-to-day curating in a nationwide museum, isn’t a solitary exercise and depends, as she knew nicely, on working carefully with colleagues with differing fields of experience. After the 1996 exhibition, there was barely a single Morris or Arts and Crafts exhibition wherever on this planet that Linda was not invited to curate or contribute to, nor a single historic property related to the Morris household that didn’t depend Linda as a trustee, adviser or patron.

She was born in Bromborough, on the Wirral. Her dad and mom, Marion (nee Barlow), a tax officer, and Albert Roberts, an engineer, separated in 1950. As a baby, Linda’s curiosity in artwork and textiles was fuelled by visiting Liverpool’s excellent museums and artwork galleries together with her father and older sister, Vivien, by an inspiring trainer at Wallasey technical highschool, and by a much-loved vacation job within the cloth division of the Lewis’s division retailer in Liverpool, in addition to by her love of sensible stitching. A basis course in artwork at Wallasey Artwork College (1963-65), the place she met her lifelong accomplice, Don Parry, was adopted by the research of textile design at Liverpool School of Artwork (1965-68).

In 1968 Linda moved to London to take a postgraduate course at Central College of Artwork and Design, the place her curiosity in pre-Raphaelite portray led her to write down for the primary time on the tapestries of Morris and the artist Edward Burne-Jones.

for Linda Parry obituary Strawberry Thief, printed furnishing cotton, designed by William Morris, 1883
Strawberry Thief, printed furnishing cotton, designed by William Morris, 1883. {Photograph}: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Her first museum jobs have been at Birmingham Metropolis Museum and Artwork Gallery (1969-71), famend for its Victorian collections, for whom she printed her first essay, on tapestry methods. By then she already aspired to work on the V&A’s textile and costume division, one of many largest textile collections on this planet. In 1971 she was employed as an entry stage curatorial assistant and, over the course of 34 years, was promoted by means of each place in that division, finally assuming larger administration duty because the deputy, then chief curator. In 2001 she turned (on the similar stage of seniority) the deputy keeper of the enlarged division of furnishings, textiles and vogue, and remained within the publish till her retirement in 2005.

Whereas identified outdoors the V&A as scholar and knowledgeable, throughout the museum Linda was a consummate curator, dedicated to the quotidian duties of caring for the gathering and galleries, answering skilled and public enquiries, and skilfully managing and nurturing youthful colleagues. Her working model – infused with a noticeably dry sense of humour – was all the time collaborative, unfailingly beneficiant and pleasingly direct. Linda studiously prevented office dramas and time-wasting.

Her deeply felt sense of public service manifested itself not solely in her day job however in her enthusiastic contribution to a lot of organisations linked to the life and work of Morris, his household and circle. Amongst them, she was a dedicated honorary curator (1992-2005), on behalf of the Society of Antiquaries (of which she was a fellow), of Kelmscott Manor, the Morris household’s Oxfordshire house, throughout a vital interval in bringing it again to public view. She additionally served as a trustee of Purple Home in Bexleyheath (one other Morris household home), and of the Hammersmith house of Morris’s expensive pal Emery Walker, who taught Morris about e-book design and printing. She was president of the William Morris Society (2000-05) and a steadfast adviser over a few years to workers on the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. Linda was appointed MBE for providers to artwork in 2006.

She is survived Don, whom she married in 1972, and by her sisters Vivien and Jody.


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