The remarkable prints and patterns of Enid Marx

A new retrospective exhibition at the House of Illustration is showing work from the 20th-century designer and printmaker’s four-decade career. We speak to co-curator Olivia Ahmed about why now is the right time to shine a light on Marx’s designs

Enid Marx was part of a crop of designers who defined the way our homes, belongings and wider surroundings looked in the mid-20th century. The textile designer, printmaker and illustrator’s peers included fellow Royal College of Art graduates Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden, who are all noted for bringing modernist principles to the world of design. Marx is best-known for creating the original patterned moquette seats that are now synonymous with the London Underground, but she also designed book covers for the likes of Penguin and was the first ever female engraver to be awarded the title of Royal Designer for Industry.