Papers of Esme Davis

Scope and Content

8 display cards created by Esme Davis, about gauze weaving, spindles and spun yarns, some bearing samples of weaving by Ethel Mairet; manuscript article about hand-woven rugs; photographs by Esme Davis of Ethel Mairet spinning with a spindle, 1944; letters and postcards from Ethel Mairet to Esme Davis, 1943-1952; copies of 3 of Ethel Mairet's 'Weaving Pamphlets for Schools'; and a newspaper article advertising the 1983 exhibition A Weaver's Life .

Administrative / Biographical History

Esme Davis was born in October 1910 in Fontenay-sous-Bois, Paris, and was brought up in London. She studied at St Martin's School of Art for five years and went on to the Royal College of Art for three years' study in the Design School where she was a student in Edward Johnston's calligraphy classes.
She worked for eight years as designer and colourist at the wallpaper firm John Line & Sons Ltd. in Tottenham Court Road, London, after which she attended Ethel Mairet's workshop, Gospels, for half a day a week 1941-1944 while teaching at Worthing School of Art. She was Mairet's assistant for six months, 1944-1945. She was particularly involved with spindle spinning and assembled a number of sample cards of hand-piled, wheel- and machine-spun yarns.
She emigrated to Canada in August 1945 and had her own weaving workshop, 'Seaborne Studio' in Galiano, British Columbia.


The postcards and letters (ESD/6) have been sorted into chronological order, and a copy of a poster advertising the 1983 exhibition 'A Weaver's Life' and photocopies of pamphlet ESD/7/2 were not retained.

Access Information

Archive material may be viewed by appointment only.


This entry was compiled by Becky Lyle, Submissions Officer for the project and by Jean Vacher, Collections Manager at the Crafts Study Centre, c.2004. The biography was written by Frances Lord.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue is available onsite. A pdf version is available on request.

Conditions Governing Use

Written permission must be sought before any archival material is published.

Appraisal Information

None timetabled.


None expected.

Related Material


Selected bibliography

Coatts, Margot, A Weaver's Life, Ethel Mairet , 1872-1952, Crafts Council, 1983