Our archive goes beyond the fabrics, artworks and drafts we pepper our social media with on a weekly basis; there’s a whole host of materials, critical to the continuation of Gainsborough, that is part of a broader archive.

Gainsborough has gone through many evolutions in all aspects of its operations, including dyeing; the business used to hold a stock of yarn colours (which we still have, preserved in beautiful wooden boxes) and previous collections boasted ‘fadeless’ performance thanks to the use of lethal dyes.

On the weaving side, technical notes on everything from the looms and harness set-ups employed to ideas and techniques have been carefully preserved and recorded to aid future designers and craftspeople. We still continue this practice today and though our designers use a CAD programme to create designs for the modern looms, they are always adding to the technical log book that will be passed on to the next generation.


Technical notes from the archive

One of the many trials from our trial books

Stock yarn colours in silk organzine in a presentation box

Our fabric archive books are justly famous, containing all the designs that have ever been ordered, but we also have trial books dating back to the early 1900s; time spent poring over their pages reveals fascinating period and stylistic changes in designs.

If you have a project and would like to visit us and see the archives, do get in touch. We welcome anyone who has a passion for fabrics and shares our belief that if something is to be done, it might as well be done properly.