I met Diana around 1990, she should really have been the godmother to both my children. For the work she gave us in those early days, when my children were small, put food on their table and clothes on their backs.
People have an illusion that commissioning furniture is something only for the very wealthy. This is not true. Diana is an example of a person of modest means taking a decision over a number of years to refurnish her home with modern, bespoke, handmade furniture.
When she inherited a small terraced house in Cheltenham from her grandparents her decision was to gradually, over the years, replace her grandparents’ furniture with modern bespoke furniture that she would commission.
“MODEST MEANS BUT EXTRAORDINARY FURNITURE.”
I worked first of all on relatively small bespoke modern pieces for Diana. Small side tables, a low table for the centre of the room, and drop leaf table in the dining room. We got to know and trust one another quite well over the years.
I would call, listen to what she wanted, then go off to do some drawings, returning a little later to show my ideas.
“OH YOU KNOW WHAT I WANT, JUST DO IT…”
Linenfold is an example of the collaboration between Diana’s faith in me and my wish to make, for her, extraordinary modern cabinets. “I want a cabinet that will go just about there”. She pointed to a place alongside some large glass patio doors. The sun was flooding in through the windows. “All I want it for is to maybe house glasses and bottles. Probably pearwood would be nice… Oh you know what I want, just do it….”
When someone like Diana gives that kind of creative freedom and encouragement you really want to make something extra special. The image I came back with was a simple cabinet that had doors carved in solid wood, the shapes normally associated with fabric, like curtains, catching the light creating a rhythm…
Much later with Ann Black we evolved a version of this modern cabinet in a new pair of bespoke cabinets called called Linenfold Vers. 2