In his 1955 book Design in British Industry Michael Farr singled out one of Marian Pepler’s post-war rugs for special praise and added: “The designer of this rug has been putting forward designs of equal merit for twenty years”.
Nearly fifty years on when leafing through my father’s book I first saw a design by Pepler and thought how great and almost unknown her work is. Working from the original designs, gouache on card, owned by Pepler’s family, we have produced a collection, of nine of her best ‘thirties’ rugs, each hand-made, in an edition limited to fifteen of each. This is a welcome return to public recognition for Pepler’s outstanding, thoughtful and beautiful work. She was the most modest and self-effacing of designers.
She was married to the architect Dick Russell, brother of Gordon Russell (probably England’s most successful furniture designer/producer of the 20th century). Gordon Russell turned to Marian Pepler for rug designs in the 1930’s when he could find nothing suitable on the market. Many of these designs are in our collection. As a healthy modernist she rejected any talk of influences although one cannot rule out the inspired teaching of Danish architect Steen Eiler Rasmussen who drew his AA students attention to English 18th century architecture and furniture.