On our radar this month is the designer, teacher and painter Peggy Angus (1904-1993). Her remarkable life was filled to the brim with creativity which she shared by tirelessly encouraging others. Angus taught at the North London Collegiate School for Girls where the students were given ambitious projects and allowed to collaborate on real commissions (the tiles she designed with the students can be seen in the school's staircases).
Her home, Furlongs in the South Downs, played host to a hotbed of pre-war artists from Eric Ravilious to Enid Marx. This ramshackle farmhouse acted as a blank canvas for her experiments - the walls covered in hand made wallpapers.
Born in Chile in 1904 (to Scottish parents), Peggy moved as a child to London. A student of the Royal College of Art in the 1920s, her contemporaries included Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Enid Marx and Helen Binyon.
Peggy travelled extensively throughout her life, she captured places, people and scenes of everyday life with an intuitive perception. The portraits she painted are highly original; the designs she created for the wallpapers and tiles that furnished her interiors are inspired by (among many other things) her travels, medieval designs and heraldic symbols.
Following WWII she began producing patterned tiles, adapting the design skills she had taught in the classroom, and up to the 1950s her colourful and decorative tile murals, commissioned by Carters of Poole, were used in a range of newly constructed buildings from Heathrow airport to modernist schools and universities around the country. Her success in this area prompted her to experiment further with wallpaper design, creating a diverse body of work that carries echoes of an artist and designer whom she admired greatly, William Morris.
In 1958 Angus was commissioned to create a tile mural at the Brussels World fair.
We highly recommend the fascinating and important biography by James Russell which is full of images of Peggy Angus' work and documents her significance within British art and design.