When two young entrepreneurial brothers, George Percival and James Baker, started importing Persian, Turkish and Turkoman carpets and re-exported them to France and the US in 1884, GP & J Baker was born. Gradually the brothers started producing beautiful prints and weaves, their designs influenced by George Percival’s admiration for Indian and Oriental art.
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 400 antique block prints from Paris’s Holzach studio, followed by a further 250 rare Indian printed cottons to their collection.
The brothers were adventurous travellers and became avid, discerning collectors of rare designs. Over the years they built up one of the largest and most diverse privately owned textile archives in the world. The textiles represent the last 100 centuries and hail from round the globe and include hand-painted Chinese wallpapers, rare 17th-century Italian and Turkish velvets, Indienne prints, Indonesian batiks, 500-year-old Peruvian textiles and Art Nouveau original paintings.
By the turn of the century, GP & J Baker was employing leading Arts & Crafts designers and its in house studio began developing designs from its extensive archive. George Percival was a passionate horticulturalist and served as President of the Iris Society, so naturalistic English garden flowers became a popular design and part of GP & J Baker’s enduring signature style.
We are extremely appreciative of artisanal craftsmanship, which in our case sometimes dates back hundreds of years