The Enduring Appeal of Laura Ashley

In 1952, a 28-year-old secretary attended a traditional handicrafts exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Inspired especially by the hand-printed fabrics she encountered there, the young woman returned home and told her husband that she had never seen anything like them in stores, and wanted to try making some similar styles herself. The pair spent 10 pounds on wood for a screen, dyes and linen and, after poring over a handful of instructional library books, began silk-screening textiles at the kitchen table of their small London flat. The following year, while awaiting the birth of their first child, they printed scarves, largely because they had just

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