In the previous piece on Tapestry Weavers I posed the question as to what had led the ladies from Harris to Bushey? A little further examination of that little village in Hertfordshire produced a possibility which, although highly conjectural, I thought I would describe:
In 1886 a remarkable house was conceived and by 1894 people were living in it. It was known as Lululaund and was built for the artist Hubert von Herkomer who was linked with the Arts & Crafts movement. Lululaund has been described as an ‘Arts and Crafts fairytale home’ .
In 1899, The Land Magazine had published the Duchess of Sutherland’s account of The Revival of Home Industries and the newly-founded Scottish Home Industries Association, inspired by Ruskin’s Arts & Crafts movement, had ‘Mrs S Macdonald‘ as its champion in An-t-Ob or ‘Obbe’. FWL Thomas had died in 1885 and in 1890 the widowed Fanny Thomas married James Flowers Beckett and moved from Leith to Sussex but remained linked to Harris at this time via her Tweed depot in London.
The pieces were in place, therefore, for seven skilled young ladies from Harris to find themselves working in Hertfordshire producing items for the extraordinary residence of an artist named Herkomer. I have no proof, and have contacted the museum in Bushey for assistance, but at least I now have a possible explanation where before there was none.