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Title: Keith Murray, industrial designer, his place in British inter-war design
Author: Taylor, Diane F.
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis constitutes an investigation of Keith Murray's design methodology and practice as a freelance designer for industry (c. 1932 - 1940). In the course of five chapters it aims to critically evaluate his significance as a British designer of the inter-war period and at the same time to examine and critique the over-arching Modernist theoretical framework which has pervaded earlier accounts and assessments of his work, (including Murray's own). Thus the first chapter identifies pivotal positions in the Modernist spectrum which justifies the study's more complex conceptualisation of the Modem Movement in design as a set of ideas advancing progressive or `non-traditional' design. Chapters Two and Three draw upon a diverse range of primary sources including economic data relating to the performance of both the ceramics and glass industries (c. 1926 - 1939) to illuminate the actualities of designing for specific British manufacturing firms during a period in which manufacturers increasingly turned to design as one of several strategies to beat the world recession. By comparing Murray's experience at the glassmakers, Stevens & Williams and the pottery firm of Wedgwood, it recognises key problems encountered by the new type of non-specialist designer, whose design methodology was hypothetically transferable across different media, across different types of company and across different industries. Chapter Four examines variations relating to firstly, how Modernist design was interpreted by Murray as a practitioner and secondly how it was disseminated both within the spectrum of design reform interests and also in the commercial field. Critical analysis of the latter has revealed a parallel discourse in which Modernist design was promulgated in terms of an emergent culture of consumption. Case studies in Chapter Five use examples of Murray's work in ceramics, glass and metal to analyse inconsistencies between his theory and practice. A conclusion reflects on the constituents of the study's more complex contextualised framework in which Murray's praxis as a designer is analysed and considers themes and approaches for further research
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available