Josef Frank's Catleya

Josef Frank’s Catleya

From South American rainforests to the local flower shop in Stockholm. Josef Franks iconic ‘Catleya’ print depicts lilies, anemones, scillas, roses, carnations, pansies and the exotic orchid that is the namesake of this outstanding 1930s design.

Josef Frank originally designed the print in the 1930s, perhaps inspired by the flowers sold in his local flower shop near Rindögatan in Stockholm. In the motif, he combines a variety of flower species that author Kristina Wängberg-Eriksson poetically chronicles in her book Pepis Flora:

A lily, could be of Leucolirion variety from China, an anemone of Mediterranean origin, named by Theosfrastos; “bluebell” a Scilla growing wild in England; Cattleya, an orchid from the rainforests of South America; a tea rose with layers of petals; a carnation dedicated to Zeus according to Greek mythology, a pansy, the flower of king’s daugher Io.

‘Catleya’ is one of the medallion designs that Josef Frank created in the 1930s, and it is currently the only one in production. The idea behind these print styles was to draw in the eye and let it wander between the different “windows” in the design. This way, the motif resists feeling monotonous, despite the separate pattern figures and small repeat.

Catleya by Josef Frank

A linen fabric with Josef Frank's Catleya print is displayed at the textile department in the store on Strandvägen 5, 1952.

‘Catleya’ is dominated by floral medallion motifs, featuring contours in a mix of colours. The print has been a part of Svenskt Tenn’s range for many years. For Christmas 2023, it is released a brown-yellow colourway; one of three colourways featured in the original pattern design sheet.