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Festival Pattern Group brown/red fabric, Manchester, England, 1950-1951

To the untrained eye, this pattern is a series of hexagons surrounded by circles. The design is actually based on the pattern of a haemoglobin molecule produced by x-ray crystallography. The structure of haemoglobin was found using this technique by Max Perutz (1914-2002), a British biochemist. The textile samples were made for the Festival of Britain in 1951 by the Festival Pattern Group. The Festival of Britain celebrated the centenary of the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace as well as the best of Britain’s art, design, technology and science. The Festival Pattern group was a collaboration between x-ray crystallographers, designers and manufacturers. These samples are just one of the fabric designs created. They are shown here with the same design reproduced in a range of different colours.

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Glossary: samples

Individual units, segments, or small quantities taken as evidence of the quality or character of the entire group or lot. W.

Glossary: haemoglobin

a substance contained within the red blood cells and responsible for their colour, a protein made from iron and responsible for carrying oxygen around the body

Glossary: textile sample

No description.

Glossary: x-ray crystallography

The method of using X-rays to discover the molecular structure of crystals. It relies on X-ray diffraction, which is the information gained by studying the pattern produced by the scattering of an X-ray beam as it hits the atomic structure of a crystal.