Learning Index >> Pioneers and their practice: a reference guide

Textiles >> Elizabeth Peacock (1880-1969)
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Elizabeth Peacock was born in Staffordshire and took private painting lessons in 1900. After conquering ill health she joined Ethel Mairet* in 1917, working as an assistant in her first weaving workshop at Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon, then moving to Ditchling with her later that year. In c.1918 Peacock joined Molly Stobart, from a farming family, and started to weave on her own; in 1922 the two moved into a new house and workshop called 'Weavers' at Clayton, near Ditchling. In 1923, aged 43, Elizabeth Peacock exhibited at the Englishwoman Exhibition, Central Halls, Westminster and soon gained a reputation for fine work in the inlay technique. As well as spinning and dyeing her own wool and linen yarns (and training others to spin it), she used imported hand-spun cotton and silk. In the 1920s her stoles, furnishing and dress lengths were in demand from international clients, including the couturier Schiaparelli.

In 1931 Peacock co-founded the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, and during the 1930s and '40s organised its annual summer schools. From 1940 to 1957 she taught weaving at Reigate and Redhill School of Art. She undertook a major commission for eight banners to hang in Dartington's great hall, Devon (c.1931-7) and, working with her students, wove fabric to clothe replica figures from the Stone, Bronze and Iron ages shown in the Festival of Britain (1951) Retrospective exhibitions of her work took place at West Surrey College of Art and Design** in 1970 and at the Crafts Study Centre, Bath** in 1978.

*Denotes included in the Crafts Study Centre Collection

**Now called Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College, of which the Crafts Study Centre is a part.



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