Marthe Armitage: Making Takes Time

In a rather special corner of London next to the Thames is the home of Marthe Armitage, octogenarian wallpaper designer extraordinaire. An old red brick wall wraps around her home and continues on past other homes where some of her children live. Binker, a perky Jack Russell Terrier, scuttles between the family homes, keeping a weather eye on the whole.

In this somewhat idyllic spot, Marthe Armitage has lived, brought up her family, and designed and hand-printed wallpapers for many decades. She is now ably assisted by her daughter Jo Broadhurst. Marthe married architect Edward Armitage in the early 1950s when she was just 20. She soon had three small children and was feeling her way toward something that would satisfy her creatively—something that might fit in with the inevitably frantic and fluid hours that child-raising requires.

So begins our story about Marthe Armitage, beautifully written by Jane Audas and deftly photographed by India Hobson. "Sharing a cup of tea with Marthe, Jo, India Hobson (our photographer) and Binker was a time out of time," writes Jane. "Marthe’s house is a new build (designed by her son, another family architect) but is redolent of a life well lived amongst creative things. She has her own wallpapers on several walls, and her own oil paintings on top of them. It is an embarrassment of riches, really." 

I'm honoured that Marthe allowed us into her home. Although I wasn't able to be there personally, Jane and India did such a wonderful job through their words and pictures, that we can all share in an afternoon with a woman who has let creativity lead her through life.

Purchase the current issue here as a single copy or part of a subscription.