THE INCIDENTAL COLLECTOR – new book on the Ken Stradling Collection

  • The Incidental Collector. Ken Stradling and the Ken Stradling Collection. Oliver Kent and Stephen Morris (eds). Ken Stradling Collection: Bristol. 2013. Paperback: 56 pages. 210mm x 210mm. Fully illustrated. ISBN: 0992607507 / 978-0992607500.
  • This new book describes the unique personal collection massed by Ken Stradling during more than 60 years associated with The Bristol Guild of Applied Arts. The collection is a fascinating cross section of design and applied arts collected by Ken alongside his role as buyer, manager and eventually director of the Guild.

The Bristol Guild of Applied Art has been a key place to see and purchase good contemporary design in Bristol for several generations. Ken Stradling joined the Guild staff in 1948 and set out to find new and innovative design and applied arts items to sell. He has continued his search for over 60 years and, at the same time almost without intending to, has created his own very personal collection of 20th and 21st century design.  Its unique quality lies in its breadth. Ken has not concentrated on glass or furniture or whatever but rather has picked out examples that he find particularly pleasing from almost all the areas that he has touched on in the course of his career.

In addition to collecting associated with the shop itself, Ken’s collection reflects his interest in design in Bristol and the region. There are many pieces with local connections and representative of Ken’s extensive networks of friends and contacts. Within this he has  also acquired pieces which represent to him important aspects of Bristol’s design history and in particular the work of the PE Gane furniture company who were significant in making and promoting modernist design in the 1930s. These include designs by Marcel Breuer during his stay in Britain in 1935-6.

The book includes and introduction by Christopher Lloyd, an essay on the significance of the collection by critic David Whiting, the glass by Graham McLaren and Breuer and Bristol by Max Gane.

The collection includes work by many important 20th and 21st century designers and makers including:

Furniture: Marcel Breuer, Gordon Russell, Ernest Race and Alvar Aalto.

Glass: Erik Höglund, Fulvio Bianconi, Holmegaard, Whitefriars and Annette Meech.

Ceramics: Dan Arbeid, Sam Haile, Arabia, Matthew Blakeley, Michael Cardew, Kevin de Choisy, Walter Keeler, Gillian Lowndes, David Miller, William Newland, Pountney’s Bristol Pottery, Marianne de Trey, Nicholas Vergette and Robin Welch.

Crafts: Sam Smith, Peter Markey, Eleanor Glover and Howard Raybould.

Plus Robert Welch, James Dyson and many others.

The Collection is open to the public on Wednesdays between 10.00 and 4.00 and some Saturdays. Visits can be arranged at other times for groups. For more information see the Ken Stradling Collection website and blog.

To buy a copy of The Incidental Collector (£10.00 plus postage) email info@stradlingcollection.org, or if you are in Bristol pick up a copy from The Bristol Guild or Durham Down Bookshop.

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