I cant now remember how I stumbled across Peggy, it was sometime ago now, but she became an instant inspiration and I rapidly engrossed myself in what I could find out about how, which was very little then. What I did find however, was that she lived a little further down the road from here and that her lino cuts were still kept close by in archive. There was also the most beautiful HAND PRINTED book about her works, which once I had set my eyes on, just had to have….its more of an epitaph than a book - its huge, comes with all sorts of extra memorabilia and the prints are genuine…if you can still find a copy - you MUST have it. Its call Peggy Angus Art For Life. The author is local, Carolyn Trant. I met her, she's a wonderfully eccentric artist and as a result was driven to making this book what it should be, whatever the cost…..thanks to a very very kind person I am now the proud owner of my own copy.
So, I went to see the archives and had a magical time sorting through boxes of goodies, all by myself and leafing through fragments of papers. I absorbed all that I could mentally and like to think that its had a knock on effect in my own work.
Then, out of the blue I saw that there was an exhibition all about her…..at the Towner, in Eastbourne, just down the road! I whizzed there as fast as I could - such excitement.
A bit about the exhibition from the Towner website:
Born in 1904 in Chile, Angus moved to London with her family when she was a young child. At just 17, she won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art based on her accomplished illustrations. Fellow students included Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Barnett Freedman and Percy Horton. In 1933 Peggy moved into Furlongs, on the Sussex Downs near Lewes, and her home became a meeting place and creative hub for Ravilious, John Piper and many others, who, as well as creating their own work, were invited to contribute to the interior decoration of the house itself. Throughout her life, she was an important mentor, teacher and collaborator for a great number of artists. The exhibition will include her early illustrations, portraits and landscape paintings, and her Modernist design work with wallpapers and tiles.
Its fascinating to see that its of interest to people again. I really think that block printing as a form of art and creation is making a come back. There is Blithfield who use Peggys designs on their fabrics (I know they do well) and there are one or two other new fabrics I have spotted recently that are based on block printed designs from Enid Marx, Guthrie, Barron and Larcher. Its interesting that all the block printers I follow seem to be women. I don't know why, the printing method takes real strength and fortitude, but it also needs a light touch of hand for the carving and the placing of the block, but I will stop before I get accused of being sexist. (My husband is very good at printing by the way).
I don't think I was allowed to take pictures really, but there were just one or two I simply couldn't resist.
Here were my highlights.
The seat pads in the gallery had been cleverly made by Diana Kelly with Blithfield fabric.
Some of Peggys wonderful tile designs. simple, but effective.
This is Furlongs, where Peggy lived.
Peggy at work in her studio