Janet Ashbee

Love, Marriage, and the Arts & Crafts Movement

Felicity Ashbee


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“An 88-year-old former teacher of art at various girls’ schools, Ashbee here offers an incisive and well-written biography that records the considerable achievements of her emboldened mother, Janet Ashbee. In her first full-length book, Felicity goes beyond her scholarly articles on art history and material culture, deliberately enhancing her mother’s reputation to do her story justice. The result is the only study available on her mother’s life, principally because Janet remained in the shadow of her renowned husband, C.R. Ashbee, and his famous Guild of Handcraft, Inc., a commercialized version of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Janet was open-minded; in 1898 she married (with reservations) a lifelong homosexual who was nearly 15 years her senior. The joy that came from four children kept the 43-year marriage together, even as Janet, called “The Lady of the Guild”, accompanied Ashbee at supper gatherings and conversations with his guildsmen. Janet Ashbee wrote hundreds of personal and domestic letters, easily worthy of publication, which confirm the liberalism of her early years and conservatism in motherhood.”—Library Journal

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Felicity Ashbee


Hardcover, 245 pp