An 88-year-old former teacher of art at various girls' schools, Ashbee here offers an incisive and well-written biography that records the considerable achievements of her emboldened mother, Janet. In her first full-length book, Felicity goes beyond her scholarly articles on art history and material culture, deliberately enhancing her mother's reputation to do her story justice. The result is the only study available on her mother's life, principally because Janet remained in the shadow of her renowned husband, C.R. Ashbee (CRA), and his famous Guild of Handcraft, Inc., a commercialized version of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Janet was open-minded; in 1898 she married (with reservations) a lifelong homosexual who was nearly 15 years her senior. The joy that came from four children kept the 43-year marriage together, even as Janet called "The Lady of the Guild" accompanied CRA at supper gatherings and conversations with his guildsmen. Janet wrote hundreds of personal and domestic letters, easily worthy of publication, which confirm the liberalism of her early years and conservatism in motherhood. Along with her outstanding autobiography, Rachel, these letters inform Felicity's fine work. Recommended for biography collections. Mary H. Bruce, formerly with Towson Univ. Lib., MD Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Much has been written about C.R. Ashbee, a key figure in the British Arts and Crafts movement in the late 19th century, but little about his wife, Janet. In this volume, Felicity Ashbee presents the first biography devoted solely to her mother's life. Among the themes touched upon are Janet's qualities and the ways in which they complemented her husband's work, the challenges she faced as the wife of an acknowledged homosexual, her three-year platonic love affair with a family friend, her public life, and important social issues of her time. Illustrated with eight color plates and b&w photographs. Ashbee has written scholarly articles on art history and 19th and 20th century material culture. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)