Charlotte Johnstone for Soane Britain

This spring, Soane Britain has collaborated with the English artist Charlotte Johnstone on two painterly designs depicting flowers and insects. While best known for her portraiture, fabrics fit naturally into the narrative of Charlotte’s work, where the pattern of a chair’s upholstery or the drape of a dress tells the sitter’s story just as the face and hands do. Trained at the Slade School of Fine Art, Charlotte is deeply influenced by her own travels and experiences, as well as her family’s historic artistic roots. Her grandmother and great aunt Doris and Anna Zinkeisen were both distinguished artists and designers and worked together to paint a one-thousand-foot mural for the Queen Mary ship in 1934, which by happy coincidence was also home to some of the Angraves rattan designs now held in the Soane archive.   

Behind the Design – Patanga

Meaning “moth” in Hindi, Patanga is a vividly patterned linen evoking tropical forests with rambling flowers and exotic insects, designed in collaboration with the English artist Charlotte Johnstone.

Charlotte’s original designs are instilled with her great interest in gardens and pollinators and draw upon a decade spent living in India. Initially inspired by south-east Asian fabrics in Soane’s textile archive, Charlotte made numerous studies in pencil and watercolour, reimagining various botanical elements. Both patterns she has designed for Soane are distinguished by their painterly quality and have been faithfully replicated by expert printers in Britain to retain all the distinct characteristics of her original artworks: ‘Patanga’, a vividly patterned linen evoking tropical forests with rambling flowers and exotic moths, and ‘Mawar’, a more disciplined scroll of flowers, a pared back reference to 17th-century Chinese wallpapers.