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Artist Picture

1907 - 1995

(Leslie) James Gardner established his reputation as a designer after the Second World War, during which he was the Chief Deception Officer at the Camouflage Training School.

Educated at Westminster School of Art, Gardner spent much of the inter-war period as a jewellery designer for Cartier, yet it was after his work in camouflage that he went on to become one of Britain's most important post-war exhibition and museum designer. The Council of Industrial Design commissioned him to oversee the design of major events including the ‘Britain Can Make It' exhibition of 1946 and the ‘Festival of Britain' in 1951. He was also responsible for the design of public decorations for the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.

For much of the rest of his productive life Gardner worked on a wide range of significant national and international projects, and was influential in presenting ideas about British identity to international audiences. Gardner even portrayed the dynamic, creative side of life in Britain in the 1960s, with his display of Carnaby Street fashions and an Austin Mini decorated with the union flag.

In 1989 he was awarded the medal of the Chartered Society of Designers for outstanding achievement in industrial design.