Tibor Reich : Centenary Retrospective at The Whitworth

Colour Montage

Colour Montage of Printed and Woven Textiles : Tibor Ltd.

My friend’s father was very keen on the work of Tibor Reich and had introduced Reich’s work to his daughter. I was happy to accompany her to visit the retrospective of Reich’s work at The Whitworth Gallery at The University of Manchester today.

fabric designs

Poppies design; Shanyi, Anna

There is also a large collection of his work at The University of Leeds and in 2009 we also visited an exhibition there :

The Tibor Reich Collection consists of several thousand woven and printed textile samples designed by Tibor Reich, who studied textile technology and design at the University, and his associates. In 1946 he formed a company based near Stratford-upon-Avon trading as Tibor Ltd. and set up a small weaving studio at Clifford Mill.

Stratford Mill

Clifford Mill, Stratford Upon Avon

During his long and distinguished career he manufactured both woven and printed furnishing fabrics for both contract and domestic users. Clients included the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Cunard, British Airways, the Lotus car company, G-Plan and Ercol furniture.


The greater part of this collection is on loan from the family, who have established the Tibor Reich Trust.” [ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles]

hanging display

Tibor Reich: 29 January – August 2016

Tibor Reich was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1916. He studied architecture and textiles in Vienna before moving to Britain in 1937. In 1946 he set up Tibor Ltd, introducing bright new colours and textures into the drab interiors of post-war Britain. The firm rapidly gained an international reputation working on commissions for the Festival of Britain, Expo ‘58 and Concorde.
The current exhibition explores the ideas behind his innovative textiles, photography, ceramics and drawings.


History of Shapes

Tigo-ware drawings

Tigo-Ware Drawings 1953-56

[Combining his interest in surface pattern with ceramics, Tibor used these drawings for his pottery range named ‘Tigo-Ware’. Pieces were named after Hungarian places and often featured comical characters]

Tigo Ware

Tigo-Ware Ceramics

Tigo pottery

Tigo-ware designs later made by Denby

Reich home drawings

Drawings for his new home

Reich sitting room

Photo of the Reich Living Room

Our summing up of the show was that it had been well curated with notes and labels and a variety of media on display; it showed off the work to great advantage with very few exhibits under glass and one of the most striking things about Tibor’s work displayed here was that, due to the great popularity of all things vintage these days, it no longer looks old-fashioned or dated. The colours, as fresh today as in the 1950s, must have been quite mind-blowing during the post-war posterity years of the late 1940s and 1950s.

Madison Blanket

A Madison Blanket


Age of Kings Fabric

Diary drawings

Diary Drawings – Leeds and London 1937

Colouring in

Colouring in shapes – popular again today!


Doodle around a piece of postage stamp perforation



6 comments on “Tibor Reich : Centenary Retrospective at The Whitworth

  1. ms6282 says:

    You’ve beat me to this one!
    We had thought of visiting the Whitworth over the Bank Holiday weekend but I was tierd after 2 weeks away from home so I had a lazy weekend. Might have bumped into you if we’d gone?

    • Look forward to your report, Mick. It will be much more knowledgeable than mine. One day it will happen and we may not even know it. Hope you had a restful weekend.

      • ms6282 says:

        Just been to the Whitworth today. This was a marvellous exhibition. A little like the Bauhaus was in the 20’s and 30’s, his approach must have seemed revolutionary at the time but because of his influence these types of design have been the norm. So I fully agree with your analysis Many of the pieces and designs reminded me of my childhood in the 60’s. I had a blanket on my bed that was surely influenced by his work looking at he examples of blanket. I agree with you that as fashions “come around again” his designs don’t look dated. One ceramic coffee set in particular looked very modern.

  2. […] week was a very arty/gallery week for me what with the Whitworth on Tuesday and a re-visit to York City Art Gallery on Thursday. Back in April I first visited the […]

  3. […] of the galleries upstairs were showing an exhibition of the work of Tibor Reich. I’d read the report by Barbara of Milady’s Boudoir a few weeks ago and wanted to see it for […]

  4. […] this year I visited the Whitworth Gallery to see the Tibor Reich exhibition. The Gallery is part of the University of Manchester and has been recently refurbished […]

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