5th October – Image Analysis

Today we had our first seminar with James.

He talked us through an image analysis exercise and gave us some points to consider:

  • Date?
    • What was happening at the time?  
    • Historical, social, political, economic factors etc.
  • What is it?
  • What is it for?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Is it fit for purpose?
  • Who produced it?
  • Where was it produced?
    • Where was it designed to go?
    • Where is it now?
  • How was it produced?
    • Production techniques
    • Materials


  1. Compare and contrast the two images by Groag and Seeney in relation to the following:
    • Their content and composition (what are they, what do they consist of etc.)
    • The social and historical contexts relevant to their production
    • Their purpose and meaning
    • Their target and/or potential audience
    • Their past and present significance


Homemaker was designed by Enid Seeney and manufactured by Ridgway Potteries in the 1950’s. The plate was made up of Black and white illustrations of the latest expensive household items. These items were in most cases beyond the reach of the average family. The plate lacked colour and composition. There was no real order or consideration to the placement of the objects on the design.

Production consisted of a transfer print with a glaze coat applied on top. The process of production was cheap and so it was initially sold through Woolworth stores.

The clever use of the expensive household items throughout the design made it appeal to a larger market. The lower class were finally able to afford some of the richer classes desirable items.

It could be argued that there was a very strong message behind Enid Seeney’s homemaker and this was to break down the barriers between the social classes, creating less distinction so that it was not only the rich who could afford the desirable things but the lower classes could finally feel part of the broader society.

The plate appeared stylish and contemporary and this was the main reason behind the success of the design.

Britain was at the forefront of textile design in the 1950’s. The fresh and innovative designs by Jacqueline Groag, along with Lucienne Day and Marian Mahler helped lead this movement. ‘We are very excited to be showing the work of Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler and Jacqueline Groag at the Fashion and Textile Museum. Their outstanding designs highlight the important contribution these women have made to introducing art and modernity into British lives and homes.’ (Celia Joicey, 2011, p1).

In contrast to Enid Seeney, Jacqueline Groag created this very abstract textiles design made up of six colours. The textiles design is very organised and more aesthetically appealing than the Plate by Enid Seeney. This is due to her great use of composition. The colours were still very muted; however, they were a welcomed change from the dull colours used in textiles designs during the Second World War. Her use of colour and bold abstract shapes emerged from the Festival of Britain and was a chance for people to put the devastation of the war behind them and look to the future.

A much needed desire for colour and decoration flourished throughout Britain because of the work by Designers like Jacqueline Groag. It became understood by the public that design added to their enjoyment and quality of life. The dynamic patterns inspired by architecture, science and abstract art inspired a new and innovative contemporary style.

Advances in the equipment used to produce textile products after the war improved significantly. The use of machines or rollers to print on cheaper fabrics such as Rayon, made it more obtainable for consumers to embrace the bold, colourful and creative designs at affordable prices.


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