The Simple Life: C. R. Ashbee in the Cotswolds

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The Simple Life (1981) was Fiona MacCarthy's first book, written while she was the Guardian's design correspondent (and before her acclaimed lives of Eric Gill, William Morris, and Edward Burne-Jones.) It tells of a venturesome effort to enact an Edwardian Utopia in a small town in the Cotswolds. The leader of this endeavour was progressive-minded architect Charles Robert Ashbee, who in 1888 founded the Guild of Handicraft in Whitechapel, specialising in metalworking, jewellery and furniture and informed by the desire to ...

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