Re­mem­ber­ing the tea-towel queen

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

IConic de­signer Pat Al­beck, who died last year, aged 87 (Septem­ber 27, 2017), is cel­e­brated in a new book, Queen of the Tea Towel. Pub­lished by the na­tional Trust, for whom she lov­ingly cre­ated charm­ing il­lus­tra­tions for more than 300 tea tow­els, it fea­tures an in­tro­duc­tion by her son, Matthew Rice. Born in Hull, Al­beck was the daugh­ter of Jewish im­mi­grants from Rus­sian Poland. A pro­lific de­signer through­out her life, her art­work has fea­tured in fash­ion, tex­tiles, table­ware and books. Among her most fa­mous pat­terns was the 1960s Daisy­chain for John Lewis, which was reis­sued for the store’s 150th an­niver­sary in 2014, and her long­stand­ing as­so­ci­a­tion with the na­tional Trust is leg­endary. ‘Pat’s per­cep­tion of pat­tern and colour, her pas­sion for gar­dens... and her abil­ity to see what was speak­ing to those who loved the places she il­lus­trated made for a re­mark­able se­ries of im­ages,’ writes Mr Rice, who re­veals how her de­signs were of­ten cre­ated af­ter ‘briskly wav­ing aside in­struc­tions from bristly, tweedy land agents or in­deed former own­ers’ (na­tional Trust, £12.99).

The coun­try kitchen’s musthave ac­ces­sory: Pat Al­beck’s Thomas Hardy tea towel

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