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The Simple Life

The Simple Life

ISBN
9780571320202
Published
21/08/2014
9780571320202
Format
Paperback
Price
£18.00
Paperback
232

About the Book

The Simple Life (1981) was Fiona MacCarthy's first book, written while she was the Guardian's design correspondent (and before her acclaimed lives of Eric Gill, William Morris, and Edward Burne-Jones.) It tells of a venturesome effort to enact an Edwardian Utopia in a small town in the Cotswolds.

The leader of this endeavour was progressive-minded architect Charles Robert Ashbee, who in 1888 founded the Guild of Handicraft in Whitechapel, specialising in metalworking, jewellery and furniture and informed by the desire to improve society. In 1902 Ashbee and his East London comrades removed the Guild to Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, hoping to construct a socialistic rural idyll. MacCarthy explores the impact of the experiment on the lives of the group and on the little town they occupied - tracing the Guild's fortunes and misfortunes, hilarious and grave, and the many fellow idealists and artists who were involved (among them William Morris, Roger Fry, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb.)

The Simple Life (1981) was Fiona MacCarthy's first book, written while she was the Guardian's design correspondent (and before her acclaimed lives of Eric Gill, William Morris, and Edward Burne-Jones.) It tells of a venturesome effort to enact an Edwardian Utopia in a small town in the Cotswolds.The leader of this endeavour was progressive-minded architect Charles Robert Ashbee, who in 1888 founded the Guild of Handicraft in Whitechapel, specialising in metalworking, jewellery and furniture and informed by the desire to improve society. In 1902 Ashbee and his East London comrades removed the Guild to Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, hoping to construct a socialistic rural idyll. MacCarthy explores the impact of the experiment on the lives of the group and on the little town they occupied - tracing the Guild's fortunes and misfortunes, hilarious and grave, and the many fellow idealists and artists who were involved (among them William Morris, Roger Fry, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb.)
  • Fiona MacCarthy

    A former Guardian critic, Fiona MacCarthy established herself as one of the leading writers of biography in Britain with her widely acclaimed Eric Gill (1989). Her next book, William Morris (1994), won the Wolfson History Prize. Her Byron: Life and Legend (2002) has been described as 'one of the great literary biographies of our time'. She also received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Last Pre-Raphaelite (2011), and was awarded the OBE in 2009.


    She was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art. She was married to David Mellor, one of Britain’s leading industrial designers.  She died in 2020 at the age of 80.

Books by this Author

Non Fiction The Last Pre-Raphaelite

The Last Pre-Raphaelite

Fiona MacCarthy

Non Fiction The Last Pre-Raphaelite

The Last Pre-Raphaelite

Fiona MacCarthy

Non Fiction Last Curtsey

Last Curtsey

Fiona MacCarthy