Homegirl London pays homage to Thornback & Peel. Fine producers of high quality, hand printed accessories for the home. Juliet Thornback and Delia Peel launched their company in 2006 with a desire to make a living from work they enjoyed. Their designs combine traditional and contemporary styles using playful and surreal images with a dash of quirky British humour – rabbits, goldfish, beetles and bees are some of the illustrations adorning their wares. Their products include; T-shirts, aprons, napkins, tea towels, cushions, deckchairs, wallpaper, cards and notebooks. I caught up with the duo to ask a few questions;
Q: Tell me about your backgrounds.
A: Delia had studied Textiles at Goldsmiths and was working as a set designer at the Royal Court and I was working as a florist.
Q: How did you meet and what led you to start your own business?
A: We met in 2004 through a mutual friend and began to make collections of handbags featuring conventional floral and geometric patterns mixed with anatomical imagery. We were still working in floristry and theatre design and had to squeeze our meetings in, often at Covent Garden Flower market at crack of dawn. In 2006 we created a home ware collection with Pigeons / Jellies and Rabbits / Cabbages and continue to draw on the natural world for our inspiration.
Q: How do you divide your roles in the business?
A: We work together in almost every aspect of the business.
Q: How would you describe your design style?
A: Classic contemporary. Our design sources range from Mrs Beeton’s household management, 17th Century microscope imagery of the natural world to Alice in Wonderland. We like to reinterpret these classic images by playing with colour, form and scale to produce prints with the charm of the past and the humour of the present.
Q: Where did the fascination with animals come from?
A: The narrative element of our designs and the sometimes mischievous mixture of subject matter owe much to the stories that we were told as children, which we are now revisiting by reading to our own children. It is also to do with the quality of the nineteenth century engravings, there was little or no photography when some of these images were drawn, there is such accuracy in these drawings, look at the fur on the rabbit or the feathers on the pigeon – the detail is extraordinary.
Q: What do you enjoy most about owning your own business?
A: We love being able to see a design through from concept to production to sale all within 100 yards (our new shop is just around the corner from our studio in Bloomsbury) at 7 Rugby Street, London WC1N 3QT.
Q: What would you recommend people buy as Christmas presents?
A: At Christmas the stag is a favourite, closely followed by our new Robin and of course the Rabbit and Cabbage. Our new Robin print is a lovely present and comes as a Tea Towel or Napkins. Our Stag print Hanky Boxes have always been popular too and we have expanded our Rabbit and Cabbage print into the Apron, Coasters and Placemats.
Below is a selection of Thornback & Peel products. You can buy from www.thornbackandpeel.co.uk or at No.7 Rugby Street, London WC1N 2NP. Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Thornback & Peel, special thanks to Juliet Thornback, Delia Peel and Sophie Stevens.
Set of 4 Robin Napkin in a Gift Box, £40 or £70 for a set of 8
Rabbit and Cabbage Apron, £22.50
Stag Hanky Box, £15.95
Robin Tea Towel, £11.95
Mixed Box of 6 Christmas Cards, £12.50