Art for Life: The Story of Peggy Angus

Artist(s): Peggy Angus
Author(s): Carolyn Trant
Format: hardback
Edition: First
Year published: 2004
Publisher: Incline Press
Publisher Location: Oldham
Total Pages: 240 pages
Illustrations: illustrated in b/w and colour

Artist(s) Biographies:


1 available

Peggy Angus was a woman of many talents: she is known as a craft worker; a designer of hand-printed wallpaper, tile designs for interior and exterior decoration, and the etched decoration for glass cladding she invented, Anguside, used in the building of Gatwick Airport. Visitors to the National Portrait Gallery in London may have seen her painting of John Piper or the family of Ramsay MacDonald. To see these for yourself visit their website and follow the links to ‘Search the Collection’. Readers of Helen Binyon’s biography of Eric Ravilious will have seen Peggy’s house, Furlongs, and the Sussex countryside around it, which Ravilious painted while staying with her. Ravilious’s paintings of Furlongs may be seen at the Imperial War Museum website following the links through Online Resources to ‘Imagined Realities’. Perhaps most importantly, ‘Miss Angus’ was head of Art at the North London Collegiate School to generations of students. Throughout her life she was a tireless champion of art for all, so that all might be educated not simply as creators, but as ‘enlightened patrons’ of art in all its forms. The title of our book, Art for Life, is taken from a prospectus she prepared advertising her Community Art School at the Camden Studio Workshops in the 1970s and sums up Peggy’s belief that art was as much about birthday cakes and bonfire celebrations as it was about museums. The author Carolyn Trant was one of Peggy’s students, a graduate of the Slade and a successful maker of artists books. Her sensitive biography brings together all aspects of Peggy Angus’s life and work tracing Peggy’s life from her childhood in Chile, her happy days at the Royal College of Art, and the friendships established there with fellow students in the ‘flowering of talent’ of the early 1920s, including Helen Binyon and Eric Ravilious. The book sympathetically portrays her marriage to the architectural historian and author, Jim Richards, the difficult war years shared with Tirzah Ravilious, and examines her post-war work as an industrial designer to the YRM Partnership, Carters Tiles and Sandersons, before discussing her years working with friends and family in London at Camden Studios, at her beloved Furlongs, and at Higgins House in Barra, where she affirmed her Scottish roots. Art for Life is a big book, 240 pages and 15 x 10 inches. It is letterpress printed on a Victoria Platen Press in Monotype Scotch Roman and Italic (’cause we thought Peggy would approve) on a bespoke Magnani paper. The book has been hand bound in the workshop of designer binder Stephen Conway, using quality bookcloth and a patterned paper made from one of Peggy’s designs. As those who knew her will appreciate, Peggy’s output is much too large to be contained between the covers of a simple book. The pages are filled with photos, reproductions and prints. The book needs to be specially housed. In consultation with Stephen Conway, a slip case has been devised to hold the book and a specially-designed portfolio. This will contain four facsimile sketchbooks and a CD of Peggy taken from the tapes Carolyn made while working on the book with her. On the CD are a few of her stories of life in the 1940s, opening and, of course, Peggy singing Raggle Taggle Gypsy O.


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