It all began in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the late 19th century, where an Englishman named George Baker worked as a distinguished garden designer. The entrepreneurial Baker also ran a successful export business and, in 1884, he sent two of his sons, George Percival and James, back to England to set up a base in London.
At the start, GP & J Baker concentrated on importing Persian, Turkish and Turkoman carpets to the UK, which they re-exported to France and America. Soon, however, the brothers started to produce their own beautiful prints and weaves, employing some of the leading designers of the day. Avid and discerning collectors of rare and iconic designs gathered over the years from their own adventurous travels, the brothers began what has become the largest and most exciting privately owned textile archive in the world.
The spectacular array of designs in the archive is a wonderful resource, providing our studio with rich, highly patterned designs reflecting the current mood for more pattern and decoration
In the late 1800s, GP & J Baker bought the renowned Swaisland Fabric Printing Company in south-east London, acquiring most of its printing blocks and a collection of pattern books dating back more than a century. A few years later, George Percival added a further 400 antique block prints from the Holzach studio in Paris, followed by a further 250 rare Indian printed cottons. In the early 1900s, the company’s most popular designs of naturalistic English garden flowers became part of the enduring GP & J Baker signature style. Many of its exquisite prints today are still sourced and adapted from its original archives: a number of which have been in production for 50 to 100 years, each re-issue adding another layer to their considerable charm.
More recently, some of these prints have been re-imagined as beautiful embroideries, woven fabrics and wallpapers. Of course, it takes more than an exceptional archive to maintain a successful heritage brand or, indeed, to retain a Royal Warrant from Her Majesty The Queen, as GP & J Baker has done for more than 36 years. A talented and knowledgeable team, including specialist designers, ensures that the business continues to evolve, with an international appeal very much based on the richness of its English heritage. Managing and Creative Director, Ann Grafton says: ‘The spectacular array of designs in the archive is a wonderful resource, providing our studio with rich, highly patterned designs reflecting the current mood for more pattern and decoration.
In the early 1900s, the company’s most popular designs of naturalistic English garden flowers became part of the enduring GP & J Baker signature style
This significant resurgence of maximalism, after a long period of pared-back neutrals, has given us the opportunity to promote some of our famous signature designs, creating colourways that are relevant to today’s contemporary interiors. ‘We are also aware of the renewed appreciation for artisanal design and I am very proud of the fact that GP & J Baker still employs the centuries-old craft of hand block printing, painstakingly produced using incised wooden blocks.’ With showrooms in London’s Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour as well as in Paris, GP & J Baker’s declared philosophy is to lead the way in textile design excellence, creating beautiful products to meet its worldwide customers’ desire for comfortable luxurious living.
GP & J BAKER Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, London SW10 0XF +44 (0)20 7351 7760