Dorothy Braddell

(1889—1981) designer and decorative artist

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An important British domestic planner, decorative artist, and interior and graphic designer Dorothy Braddell made a significant impact on the design of kitchens and domestic appliances alongside scientific management of the home. She also wrote eloquently on these areas in a number of leading publications in the field. Her work was shown at prestigious exhibitions, ranging from British Art in Industry at the Royal Academy (1935) to Britain Can Make It at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1946). It was also shown regularly at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibitions. After King's College, London, she studied art at Regent School Polytechnic and at the Byam Shaw School of Art, winning a National Gold Medal for decorative design. Following the First World War she worked in advertising and promotion, one of her most important clients including Shell-Mex Ltd. In line with the newly founded Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England Shell-Mex Ltd. had become increasingly committed to the promotion of environmentally sensitive advertising and signage and Braddell produced a wide range of promotional material from advertising hoardings to exhibition stands. At the 1932 Motor Show her work was in Art Deco style, with recessed lighting, Modernist chromium plated steel furniture, and zebra skin-like furnishing fabrics. She also explored the Deco vocabulary on the Viyella Stand at the 1932 Ideal Home Exhibition. Between the 1930s and 1950s Braddell also focused on interior design and domestic planning, very much in tune with the aims of the campaigning Electrical Association for Women and contemporary thinking on scientific management in the home. She worked for many commercial companies, often acting —unusually for a woman at that time—in a consultancy capacity. Much of her domestic planning design was seen in exhibitions at home and abroad, mainly featuring domestic room settings, especially kitchens. She wrote that ‘I think it can be truly said that good planning is the first essential of labour-saving.’ Much of her work featured Aga cookers (manufactured in England by Allied Ironfounders) incorporated into modern, labour-saving settings with integrated work surfaces and built-in cupboards. She also worked closely with manufacturers on appliance design itself, most notably with the Parkinson Stove Company. Her room settings also featured in a number of significant international exhibitions, most notably in the British Pavilion at the Paris Exhibition of 1937. All the designs shown there were selected by the Council for Art and Industry. She continued to be busy into the 1960s.

From A Dictionary of Modern Design in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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