Margaret Calkin James, 1895-1985
Simple name : Person: artist
Collection : People
Reference number : 1996/4928
Margaret Calkin James
Brought up in a well off home, Margaret Calkins James's father was an underwriter at Lloyd's. She trained at the Central School of Arts and Crafts from 1914 - 1916, specialising in calligraphy.
The loss of her brother, killed in the First World War, affected her greatly and she did much voluntary work designing and making garments for the Red Cross and designing decorations and pictures for soldier's huts.
After the First World War she opened the Rainbow Workshop in Bloomsbury.
She designed lampshades, stage props, posters, pattern papers for the Curwen Press, book jackets, fabrics and the first greetings telegram for the GPO. She designed advertisements for Shell, British Broadcasting Commission and other organisations.
Married to architect C H James, they enjoyed a 'simple life' reflecting the 'Arts & Crafts' ideals popular at the time, living in London but spending much time in rural Sussex and later at Chipping Camden in the cotswolds. In 1916 her calligraphy was exhibited at the Royal Academy's arts and crafts exhibition and in 1935 she exhibited book jackets at the ‘British Art in Industry’ exhibition. She designed Curwen Press pattern papers and a large number of typographic book covers.
She had one-man shows at Cooling Galleries, Kensington Art Gallery in 1948; and St George's Gallery in 1957.
Partially paralysed after a stroke at seventy-four, she then became a skilled embroiderer.
Date of birth :
Date of death :
- Central School of Arts and Crafts : 1914-1916
- Westminster School of Art
- Designed posters for the Underground Group and London Transport : 1928-1935