More Mary Fedden little soft lions

Emma Bridgewater catalogue, March 2018 with 3 of Mary Fedden’s little soft lions

When people Mary Fedden knew had babies, she made them little soft  lions as a present. I mentioned them here when I was saying how much I enjoyed reading Christopher Andrae’s Mary Fedden: Enigmas and Variations (Lund Humphries, pbk. 2014)  and I reproduced the 4 photographs of the soft toys that appeared in the book.

Emma Bridgewater catalogue 2018 : Mary Fedden design on a mug and 2 of Mary Fedden’s little soft lions

Pat Albeck died at 87 last September. The designer of wonderful fabric prints from the 1950s onwards (Horrockses, National Trust tea towels, and latterly floral paper cuts)  she will be sorely missed. In newspaper and magazine articles she always looks like someone you’d like to have known. Big, immaculate, white hair, huge spectacles and colourful clothes (often accompanied by big clunky necklaces, made to look like things such as Liquorice Allsorts, crystallised ginger or half of a wild flower meadow)  – you feel you could have sat down and had a good laugh about life with her. Oh, and did I mention, she was Emma Bridgewater’s mother-in-law.

Emma Bridgewater catalogue March 2018 and another of Mary Fedden’s little soft lions.

Anyway, what I’m going the long way about saying is that I did a bit of internet research on Pat her after her death and in a photograph, there in the background were some of Mary Fedden’s little soft lions. Of course now I can no longer find the photograph! But, then last week the latest Emma Bridgewater catalogue landed on the door mat and there alongside one of Emma’s new designs for a mug with a Mary Fedden lion were 3 lons of the little soft variety.  (Now I think these were for Emma’s children, in which case where is the fourth but let’s not be too curious, it was probably loved to destruction and it’s joy enough to see the three we’re treated to.) A bit of me feels it would be wonderful if someone tracked down all the little lions that Mary Fedden ever made and photographed for a book, but then again, another bit of me feels that each one was so personal, made for one very specific individual, we should let them stay unknown to all except those for whom they were lovingly made. So, thanks, Emma for giving us sight of your 3 special little soft lions.

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  1. Posted March 8, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    How utterly delightful!

    All I ever did was to make little felt toys from someone else’s pattern!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted March 21, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      I did too. But if you look at Mary Fedden’s lions the shapes are very simple – it’s the faces that are important. We get so used to using a pattern, sometimes we need to remember the liberation of doing without one – much as you say over your Amarna project, I think!

  2. Cath
    Posted March 12, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    You may also be interested to read the lovely article about Pat Albeck with wonderful pictures of her house and a mention of Mary Fedden on the Bible of British Taste blog from February last year.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted March 21, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Cath, I think I’ve looked at the post but I could well do with a bit of joy from looking at it again. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  3. Posted August 17, 2018 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Hello, how are you? Dipping my blog-reading toe back in the water and what a great post to start with. I too loved the story of the Mary Feddon lions. I bought the ‘Queen of the Tea Towel’ book about Pat Albeck’s Narional Trust tea towels by Mathew Rice, and it is very sweet. So far I have resisted the Mary Feddon large bowl on the EB website, I really can’t justify the spend, but the expression of patient dignity on the lions’s face is so appealing, I don’t know how much longer I can hold out…. X

    • Mary Addison
      Posted August 18, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I’m fine, Penny, thank you – still dribbling my thoughts and handwork into the ether. Lovely to hear from you.
      I must get the Queen of Tea Towel book. I rather fell in love with the larger than life person I discovered Pat Albeck had been all her life … and then she promptly went and died, so much sadness for EB, MR and family and the rest of us.
      Go buy the bowl, if you really love it. It’ll be discontinued soon and then you’ll wish you had. As those boys get older and bring home university friends a big bowl for pasta or salad will be just what you need.
      One day I will get on to Instagram too and join the rest of you trailblazers!

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