Pairing Up, Part 5: Artwork and Process (and a Patent too)

In the first update to our original Pairing Up series we looked at a number of new “Works in Progress” connections, finishing up with an example that proved digital alignment isn’t always possible on the pairings we find, regardless of how small the differences might at first seem. A theme that carries over to our next connection too…

When we found a lone transfer pull amongst the illustrations of SD 1705/MS3752 we immediately recognised one of the designs on it as matching a sketch we’d digitised six months previously in SD 1705/MS1917. The two designs – both attributed to Minton artist William Wise – looked so similar and reminded us so much of other successful artwork-to-pull pairings we’d made in the past that we immediately set to work digitally aligning them… only to find they weren’t quite as closely matched as we’d first believed.

Our attempts to align the designs showed us that, whilst the figures themselves changed very little, their relative positions had altered to such an extent that we’d never be able to successfully overlay the two objects. In the interactive overlay below we’ve aligned the designs around the girl so you can see the similarities in that portion of the illustration and to provide a point of reference for the differences elsewhere.

Luckily most of our pairings aren’t as tricky as the one above – our next example contains three items rather than the usual two and was still one of the easiest connections we’ve made here on the blog! A single catalogue entry, SD1705/MS1730, provided us with the original artwork, transfer pull and print for a pattern referred to as “Montreal” and with such closely related components the process of digital alignment was very straightforward. It was also interesting to confirm that the dimensions annotated on the top edge of the original artwork (left) corresponded with the length-to-width ratio of the design present on the transfer pull and print.

Composite image showing the original artwork (left), transfer pull (right) and print (centre).

Our last connection – for now, at least – brings together an artwork and matching patent document, something we achieved by accident earlier in the year when we unexpectedly happened across the Registration of Design documents to match a series of butterfly designs we’d highlighted only a few weeks before. SD 1705/MS1982 contains two drawings, one illustrating the correct techniques for throwing a grenade and the other describing various action signals. Pencilled on the grenade-throwing design is the caption “Reg No. 838501”, which would’ve had us scurrying off to search through the Patents section of the catalogue… if SD1705/MS955, the matching Registration of Design document, hadn’t already been highlighted in the artwork’s record. (Have we cheated with this one?)