Weathering the Equinoctial Storm

Charleston Collectors Drawers by Cambridge Imprint

What a year. There was a strange feeling of freedom over the summer, with the unusually good weather seeming to go on and on, and the covid-clouds mysteriously holding off. Now the change of season is palpable. The autumn equinox arrived with a bang – the pox is back, the Prime Minister was on the telly announcing all fun suspended, and we wonder if we should be retreating into our winter quarters, sewn into our warmest clothes and with a tummy full of pine-needles. Here in Cambridge yesterday the sky was dark grey and the rain lashed down rather theatrically. But this morning the sun is making a tentative appearance and there is definitely enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Keep calm, wash your hands, and carry on, seems to be the right sentiment.

Charleston-inspired patterned papers by Cambridge Imprint

In that spirit, we are very happy to announce the expansion of our range of patterns inspired by Charleston, the Bloomsbury farmhouse in Sussex. We first launched three patterns in September last year. The intention was that these would be the first of a larger collection, and we were keen that the pestilence should not derail those plans.

Charleston Meander patterned paper by Cambridge Imprint

It was a perfect project to occupy us during lockdown. We spent many soothing hours, when world events were not soothing and it was necessary to look actively for comfort, at the worktable, improvising on a few themes — dots, loops and wandering lines — and mixing new colours.

Cambridge Imprint Charleston experiments

As soon as restrictions were eased and our printer opened up in early summer, we printed our two favourite patterns, Meander, and Loop and Spot. They join Roundel, Scumble and Stripe, taking the number of Charleston-inspired patterns we now have to five. We’re hoping to keep going, adding a couple more a year.

Charleston Meander Patterned Paper by Cambridge Imprint
Charleston Loop and Spot Patterned Paper by Cambridge Imprint
Charleston Meander PatternPaper by Cambridge Imprint


Charleston Loop and Spot PatternPaper by Cambridge Imprint


Charleston Patterned Papers by Cambridge Imprint

We cracked on through the summer. No time to waste. There was a powerful feeling of needing to make hay while the sun shone. So as soon as the paper was safely printed, it was at our box-makers in Bedfordshire. To our relief, they were also just emerging from their springtime covid-induced shutdown, and we’ve been keeping them busy ever since. They have made us this very elegant set of shallow collector’s drawers, covered in our new Charleston Meander paper and lined in grey, and also a great big document box, large enough to accommodate A3 papers and drawings comfortably, covered in the new Loop and Spot design and hinged with matching conker-brown book cloth.

Charleston Document Box and Drawers by Cambridge Imprint
Charleston Collector's Drawers by Cambridge Imprint


Large A3 Document Box by Cambridge Imprint


Charleston is not polite, restrained or dull, but rather exuberant, strange and subtle: we hope we have created some things here that live up to that example. You’ll find everything in the ‘Cambridge Imprint for Charleston’ department in our shop, and it’s all also available from Charleston’s own online shop.

If you’re interested in reading more, you can see a thoughtful story about our Charleston project in the October issue of World of Interiors. (The October issue is the one in newsagents now.) Our studio full of Charleston swatches and inks was photographed by Antony Crolla in late July, when the glue on the prototypes was barely dry. The lovely words were written by Charlotte Edwards. We are so happy, and to be honest, a little overwhelmed, to have been noticed by WoI, a publication we have admired and loved for decades. Life-goal achieved. What shall we do next?

World of Interiors Cambridge Imprint October 2020


Restrictions on social gatherings, travel, shopping seem to be changing on an almost hourly basis at the moment. Mindful that the path of this autumn and winter may not run smooth, we are breaking our self-imposed rule of never mentioning Christmas before December, to say that our Christmas department is open now. For safety’s sake, we can only have two people packing parcels at a time at the moment, so it is taking us longer than usual to get orders shipped out to customers. Also, although we’re well-stocked, and taking all possible steps to remain that way, conditions are challenging and you never know what may be coming down the line. So, if you feel like ordering early this year, just to be sure of things, you are very welcome to do so — and let’s hope we never need to make such plans again.