British Institute of Industrial Art

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British Institute of Industrial Art (1920–33)

British Institute of Industrial Art (1920–33)

‘Purgatory of taste’ or Projector of Industrial Britain? The British Institute of Industrial Art

HERRICK, Frederick Charles (1887 - 1970), painter and designer (NRD); engaged on experimental research into the relationship between impression and design; Fellow, British Institute of Industrial Art; Member, Art Workers’ Guild and Fellow, Society of Industrial Artists

JACKS, William (1841 - 1907), iron merchant; Chairman of several industrial and commercial works; Past President, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce; President of the Council of the Commercial College, Glasgow; Past President of the British Iron Trade Association; Past President of the West of Scotland Iron and Steel Institute; President of various Literary and Science and Art Clubs in Glasgow

SAWYER, George Alexander (died 1944), Knight of Grace of St John, Knight of the Crown of Belgium, etc. Late Deputy Chairman of the British Empire Film Institute; late Hon. Treasurer of the National Liberal Council for London during Coalition Government; late Chairman of Westminster National Liberal Association (Abbey and St George’s Divisions); a Life Governor and formerly an Hon. Treasurer of the Queen’s Hospital for Children and Member of the Governing Board; organised many Art Exhibitions, amongst which were the First British Sculptors Exhibition, Medallic Art Exhibition, First Official War Photo Exhibition, British Women Artists Exhibition, Belgian Art at the Front Exhibition, Belgian Art at the Front Exhibition and Sculpture Exhibition, 1931; Hon. Secretary and Treasurer of the first British Industrial Art Exhibition, 1933; Hon. Organiser the first Contemporary Industrial Design Exhibition, 1935; Hon. Treasurer, Durham Distressed Area Committee; during European War organised and served with Voluntary Hospitals in France; member of board of London Child Guidance Clinic, etc

STEWART, Frederick (Charles) (died 1950), Chairman of Thermotank Ltd, Thermotank Engineering Co., Ltd, Glasgow, London, Liverpool and Newcastle, of Thermotank (SA) (Pty) Ltd Johannesburg, and of Thermotank (India) Ltd, also President of Thermotank (Canada) Ltd; Chairman: North British Locomotive Co., Ltd, Glasgow and London; North British Locomotive Co. (Africa) Ltd; Kelvin, Bottomley & Baird, Ltd, Glasgow, London and Basingstoke; Kelvin & Hughes, Ltd; Clyde Confections Ltd; Deputy Chairman; Brown Bros & Co., Ltd; Henry Hughes & Son, Ltd; Director: William Baird & Co., Ltd; The Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank, Ltd; Eagle Star Insurance Co., Ltd; Scottish Industrial Estates Ltd; Hillington Industrial Estates Ltd; Bruas-Perak Rubber Estates Ltd; Caledonian Trust Co., Ltd, Second Caledonian Trust Co., Ltd, Third Caledonian Trust Co., Ltd; S. Smith & Sons (England) Ltd; Midland Bank Ltd; Midland Bank Executors & Trustee Co. Ltd; Western Reversion Trust Ltd; Consulting Ventilating Engineer to Ministry of Sea Transport; Past President, Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, 1941–43 (now Hon. Member); Assessor to the Rector of Glasgow University; Hon. Vice-President: Glasgow County Scout Council; Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts; Glasgow Art Gallery and Museums Associations; Zoological Society of Glasgow; Vice-President Institute of Industrial Administration; Member of Council, Institution of Naval Architects; Governor, Royal Scottish Academy of Music; Member: Clyde Navigation Trust; Lloyds Register of Shipping (Glasgow Committee); Hon. Company of Master Mariners, London; Wardens’ Court, The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, London; Institute of British Engineers; Admiralty Aeronautical Research Advisory Panel; Railway Staff Tribunal; Executive Council (and of Scottish Committee) of Festival of Britain, 1951; etc


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(BIIA) (1920–33)

This design promotional body was incorporated in 1920 with the aim of raising standards of design in British manufacturing industry in tandem with the improvement of public taste. Such notions of design reform underpinned the outlook of many campaigning bodies in Britain (such as the Design and Industries Association, the Council for Art and Industry, and the Design Council) and elsewhere. Supported by government funding for the early stages of its existence, the BIIA established its Exhibition Gallery in Knightsbridge, London. The BIIA also established a Bureau of Information that provided information about design, designers, and design education alongside wider developments in Britain and overseas. A design collection was built up including exemplars of metalwork, ceramics, glass posters, books, and printing, although the organization's commitment to mass‐produced goods was limited in favour of more handcrafted modes of production. However, the gallery eventually proved a casualty of the withdrawal of government funding after 1921 and its collections were moved to the nearby Victoria and Albert Museum. Exhibitions were mounted both at the V&A and in the provinces, often attracting sizeable attendances. Perhaps the most significant BIIA exhibition was the 1929 Industrial Art for the Slender Purse mounted at the V&A. Although government funding had ceased following the economic slump of 1921, the BIIA continued to play a role in national design matters. It sought to influence the quality of the state's commissioning of design through liaising with the Post Office, the Royal Mint, the Stationery Office, and the Boards of Education and Trade. It also contributed to a number of significant reports including the influential Balfour Report on Trade and Industry (1927). Overall, like so many design reform agencies its impact on manufacturing industry was comparatively limited.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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