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Adshead, (Sylvia) Mary (1904–1995), mural painter and designer, was born on 15 February 1904 at 46 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London, the only child of Stanley Davenport Adshead (1868–1946), architect and academic, and Mary Annie (1874–1960), née Blackie, teacher and housewife, who both had considerable influence on her career and early success. A delicate child, she was educated initially at home by her mother. From 1910 until 1913 the family spent part of each year in ...

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Allen [née Gill], Marjory, Lady Allen of Hurtwood (1897–1976), landscape architect and promoter of child welfare, was born on 10 May 1897 at Hazelstubbs, Gravel Hill, Bexleyheath, the daughter of George Joseph Gill (c.1860–1947), a water-rate collector, and his wife, ...

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Angus, Margaret MacGregor [Peggy] (1904–1993), designer and artist, was born on 9 November 1904 in Coronel, Chile, the tenth surviving child of David Angus (1855–1926), railway engineer, and his wife, Mary, née Wilson (1860–1939), a former teacher. Her parents were originally from Scotland...

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Laura Ashley (1925–1985) by Philip Sayer, early 1980s © Philip Sayer; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ashley [née Mountney], Laura (1925–1985), dress designer and interior decorator, was born on 7 September 1925 at Dowlais, near Merthyr Tudful, south Wales, the eldest of the four children (two daughters and two sons) of Stanley Lewis Mountney, a civil servant, of ...

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Benjamin, (Rose) Elisabeth (1908–1999), architect and designer, was born at 20 Christchurch Avenue, Willesden, London, on 7 December 1908, the only child of liberal-minded Jewish parents, Alfred Benjamin (b. 1876/7), an entrepreneurial businessman, collector and designer of pottery, and his wife, ...

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Helen Manson Biggar (1909–1953) by Benno Schotz, 1932 Christie's Images Ltd. (2004)

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Biggar [married name Montlake], Helen Manson (1909–1953), sculptor, film-maker, theatre designer, and political activist, was born on 25 May 1909 at Dudley Drive, Hyndland, Glasgow, the eldest of three daughters of Hugh and Florence Biggar. She grew up in a socialist household, her father being a Christian socialist and founder member of the ...

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Bjørnson, Maria Elena (1949–2002), opera and theatre designer, was born in Paris on 16 February 1949, the daughter of Bjørn Bjørnson (1899–1986), chemical engineer, and Maria (Mia) Prodan de Kisbunn (1917–2004). Her father came from a distinguished Norwegian family (her great-grandfather, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson...

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Braddell [née Busse], Dorothy Adelaide (1889–1981), designer and decorative artist, was born at 129 Inverness Terrace, Paddington, London, on 30 June 1889, the daughter of Jacob Levine Busse, stockbroker, and his wife, Annie Leonie Stiebel. After attending Miss Manville's school and King's College, London...

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See Caesar, Charles

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See Casson, Sir Hugh Maxwell

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Colefax [née Halsey], Sibyl Sophie Julia, Lady Colefax (1874–1950), hostess and interior decorator, was born on 4 December 1874, at The Poplars, Wimbledon Common, Surrey (the house of her uncle, Walter Bagehot). She was the third but only surviving daughter (and fifth and last child) of ...

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Dame Sylvia Crowe (1901–1997) by Kelvin Brodie, 1975 © News International Newspapers Ltd

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Crowe, Dame Sylvia (1901–1997), landscape architect, was born on 15 September 1901 at 30 Oxford Road, Neithrop, Banbury, Oxfordshire, the daughter of Eyre Crowe, a box and cabinet manufacturer who, because of ill health, retired early to become a fruit farmer near the village of ...

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See Cunliffe, Marcus Falkner

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Marion V. Dorn (1896–1964) by Frank Dobson, c. 1930–31 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dorn, Marion V. (1896–1964), designer, was born on 25 December 1896, probably at Menlo Park, near San Francisco, California, one of five children of Diodemus Socrates Dorn (1860–1913), lawyer, and Camille Johnson (1870–1932). Educated at Stanford University from 1912 to 1916 (bachelor of arts in graphic arts, Phi Beta Kappa), thereafter she shared a studio in ...

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Margery Fish (1892–1969) by Valerie Finnis, 1960s © Valerie Finnis/National Portrait Gallery, London

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Fish [née Townshend], Margery (1892–1969), gardener and author, was born at 16 Eastbank, Stamford Hill, London, on 5 August 1892, the second of the four daughters of Ernest Townshend (d. 1926), City of London commercial traveller in tea, and his wife, ...