This week’s work is another gorgeous double-page spread from Marianne Straub’s scrapbook. On the left-hand page, we have a card from Misha Black, with whom Marianne had worked since the 1940s. He commissioned Marianne’s fabrics for the upholstery and curtains in the Regatta Restaurant at the Festival of Britain in 1951. The illustration and message are typically playful: ‘Owl nice to be writing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year tu-whit tu-whoo…With warm good wishes Misha’
On the same page we have a delightful image of colourful stick figures in pointy hats by Finnish painter and textile artist Eva Antilla, who Marianne probably met in Finland in the latter half of the 1930s, when travelling with Ethel Mairet, who employed Marianne at her Gospels studio.
At the top right a wonderful fold out card from Scottish designer and illustrator George Mackie is typical of some of the more inventive creations in the scrapbook.
Underneath it is a cheerful block print of a tug pulling barges loaded with Christmas trees and presents, by an anonymous friend of Marianne’s, and a multi-lingual Christmas steam train from an unknown ‘H. Steiger’.
At the bottom of the page is a marbled card from ‘The Letchworth Cockerells’. Sydney ‘Sandy’ Cockerell was a book-binder and expert in paper marbling, who ran the well-known family book-binding firm of Douglas Cockerell & Son in Letchworth. Marianne has several Christmas cards from the Cockerells in her scrapbook, all featuring marbled paper.
Marianne Straub’s scrapbook is currently on display in the Fry Gallery in the exhibition ‘Interwoven Lives: Marianne Straub, Great Bardfield & Friends’, until July 2nd.