Sunday, 1 June 2014


A selection of vintage French textiles
French cafe curtains
Having had a very modest antique and folk art business in East Anglia and having moved to a largish house near Bath which had ample good cellarage, I decided to start up a more decorative side to the business and to stock the French textiles I had seen on my holidays.  The spaces were good, the light excellent, all with garden views, and I had just discovered the French linen sheets which were to become a major part of my business and work!  There was a wonderful Bath built-in dresser from floor to ceiling for all the enamel, folk art and pottery, a space for my housekeeper's vast linen cupboard and I installed wooden slats and racks in the boiler room for all the linen sheets, both to dry, air, and store.  I heard that the now very prestigeous Bath Decorative Fair was to start up and signed on for a stall and also took part in a very small and modest gathering, in a pub room, with two friends, Olga Verschoor, textile expert and top dealer from France and Olivia Dell, a long established textile connoisseur; plus a few invited dealers and friends.  And it was from that small beginning that we started up Talent for Textiles Fairs which are now in their 20th year and Olga also organised some very high quality fairs in Le Mans for all the top French textile and costume dealers!   It all took quite a time as we did not advertise and we did not charge our visitors entrance fees - all the rather modest expenses were paid for by the rent money from the stall holders and we have kept this mode up to the present day in all but one venue, or raised some money for a charity, as at Yarlington.
     I continued with Bath for another 15 years and gave up Shepton Mallet which I found expensive and very mediocre, though I did meet Polly Lyster through it, and continued with the Little Chelsea fair in Chelsea Town Hall for many years, collecting Chelsea ladies who loved the linen and Provencal fabrics I could find in those days. The smart young lady decorators were not very interested in my old shabby stuff - they preferred to sell expensive yards of frilly chintz.   I bought and sold quite a lot of painted peasant marriage chests from Czechoslovakia which looked wonderful wherever they were placed - and made an ideal display stand for all my linen -  the only trouble was heaving them on and off the roof rack of my Volvo estate! Luckily they always sold at the Fair so I did not have to cart them home. When the Little Chelsea changed hands I decided to leave London and outside Fairs and concentrate on our own, which worked out quite well tho' I did miss the international clientele in London - especially on Decorex dates when foreign buyers who had emptied their purses for their clients, decided to treat themselves to a little souvenir at our modest Fair!


  1. Lucky for us, the smart young lady decorators did not understand the treasures they were looking at and instead left them to those of us who appreciate them!

  2. Beautiful textile and color. The most important thing in garments which give good finishing is hard work by and textile designers and manufacturers.

    Robert Green

  3. I just love reading your posts - they are so enjoyable.
    Thank you.

  4. How interesting getting to touch and feel all that great vintage fabric

    I would love to show one of your fairs or at least just be there to see it