Tibor Reich: Life, Work and Denby


This year marks the centenary of the birth of Tibor Reich, one of Britainís pioneering post war textile designers.

Born in Budapest to a family of textile industrialist, Tibor moved to England to study Textile Design at Leeds University in 1938. At that time, Leeds was the centre of the weaving industry. Whilst studying in Leeds, Tibor showed tremendous talent, winning awards and recognition that would continue throughout his career. He was later commissioned to produce textiles for Concorde, Buckingham Palace and the Shakespeare Memorial Hall.

It took many years after the Second World War before Britain was ready to embrace contemporary Art and Design. The Festival of Britain in 1951 was the turning point for the publicís appetite for modern design. Tiborís innovative and colourful designs were exhibited there and were an instant hit. His fabrics were used in homes, schools, ships, airports, theatres and cars. Colour for Tibor was energy and life itself. He was even reported to have said that he ďcould live on colourĒ.

As well as being an enormously talented textile artist, Tibor was also a gifted ceramic designer. He established a pottery in his garden in Alderminster and worked with a local potter to develop a range of ceramic pieces to complement his textiles. Demand grew for his pottery after it was shown in a nationwide touring exhibition. His ceramics were well received, and Denby Pottery approached him in the 1950s to work as a consultant. We produced his Tigo Ware collection and Tibor also advised on colour and patterns for several of our other ranges at that time.

Tiborís infectious love of colour, texture and form makes his designs as commercial and appealing now as they were when they were first designed. It is of little surprise that his grandson, Sam Reich is currently re-launching his textile designs for future generations to enjoy and appreciate all over again. The appetite for Mid-century designs continues to grow and looks set to continue as a trend for many years to come.

A retrospective exhibition on the work of Tibor Reich is currently taking place at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester and is on show until August 2016. In addition, a new book and a recent talk by Sam Reich at London's Fashion and Textile Museum, has seen his work gain more admirers and collectors. This is a wonderful legacy that only a truly talented artist could achieve.

Words by Katy Lilley, Denby Designer.
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