The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Pat Albeck - another heroine

Not "All Washed Up" - the title of her exhibition, but I'm glad to say, still going strong! 


 I have been collecting the work of Pat Albeck for decades and I am sure many of you have her wonderfully designed products too - even if you don't know it?  My house has Pat Albeck everywhere and perhaps it is just as well that she isn't as prolific as she once was.

Her designs are instantly recognisable and (my friends can vouch for this) I can recognise them at sixty paces!  The ones below are typical - Pat has done lots of cats!  Her book "A Cat's Guide to England" is a favourite of mine and it can still be bought online - Amazon uk has it for 1p plus postage!  It's just wonderful and makes a lovely present for a child or a cat lover or both!   Unfortunately, I can't find a picture of it online but I recommend it!

I have these egg cosies in my kitchen
and quite a few of these too!
 At the age of 81 she is still working and occasionally designs Emma Bridgewater products and as you can see from the first picture and the video link below, she uses them in her home!

As far as I know, there has never been an exhibition of her work but there is to be now.

The exhibition celebrates six decades of Pat Albeck's involvement in tea towel design, though of course she designs lots of other things too.  Pat has selected fifty designs from a collection of 300, and the exhibition includes a new tea towel specially commissioned for Norwich Cathedral.

Born in 1930, Pat attended Hull School of Art and continued her training as a textile designer at the Royal College of Art from which she graduated in 1953.  She married a fellow student, Peter Rice, the theatre designer and lived in London for many years until they retired to Norfolk to be nearer their son and his family.  Pat and Peter have obviously passed their talent on because their son, Matthew, who is married to Emma Bridgewater and now runs Bridgewater (Emma is taking some time out), is multi talented and a noted artist and designer.

The National Trust asked Pat to design her first tea towels in 1967 and she has designed a calendar tea towel for them every year since then. I have quite a few of them, along with trays, tea cosies, pot holders, boxes etc. etc. Of course I never dry dishes with them, they are kept for posterity!  Hope posterity appreciates this?

Sadly, because Norwich is extremely awkward to get to from Wales,  I won't be able to visit but I am delighted that her work is being recognised at last.  She really is the Queen of Tea towels, as well as other household stuff and has certainly brightened up our lives.  Long may she continue!

Here is a link to a short video about Pat -

1 comment:

Jacky and Steph said...

What an interesting post. Aren't some people amazing? Norwich is a long way from me unfortunately but I will have a look at the link!