The Brontë novel which has inspired the latest collection by luxury linen-maker with Royal seal of approval

Designer Giles Deacon has teamed up with a luxury linen specialist to create a range inspired by an acclaimed Brontë novel. Sharon Dale reports. Pictures by Darren Woolridge.

The lambswool and cashmere throw featuring the Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Charlotte and Emily generally get the lion’s share of the Brontë spotlight but it was quiet, thoughtful Anne who captured the attention of designer Giles Deacon.

He has made her the star of his new collaboration with renowned Lancashire linen manufacturer Peter Reed.

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The result is a themed collection of table linen and throws inspired by what many consider to be one of the best books produced by the literary hothouse that was the Brontë parsonage in Haworth.The Dinner at Wildfell Hall collection pays homage to Anne’s book The Tenant of Wildfell Hall published in 1848 under the pseudonym Acton Bell.

A table set for dinner with the Dinner at Wildfell Hall collection of linen placemats and napkins

Considered to be one of the first feminist novels, it tells the story of Helen Huntingdon who defies convention and the law by leaving her abusive husband and taking their son and a servant to set up home in the secret refuge that is Wildfell Hall.

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The references to the story, its author and its moorland setting are clear in Giles’ illustrations.

They include the courageous Helen depicted on one of the lambswool and cashmere throws. The other features a quill drawn pattern in peat and pewter colourways.

The exquisite table linen is embroidered with a variety of illustrations including a wild bird, a master key with ribbon and a posy of wild flowers, along with a quill, which Anne Brontë would have used to write her novel.

The tablecloth, placemats and napkins are cut, made and embroidered by Peter Reed’s talented team in Nelson using tones of scarlet, peat, brown, bone, gold bullion and pewter.

Best known for his multi-award winning, stellar career in fashion with Gucci, among others, Giles, now a top couture designer, has always diversified using his gift for illustration.

His artistic and entrepreneurial talents, along with his fun, friendly nature, has helped keep him busy in the notoriously fickle world of fashion and design.

“I like working with the best of British suppliers and manufacturers and was introduced to Sean Clayton, of Peter Reed, through a friend.

“We have a great relationship and what they produce is exquisite so I was keen to do a collaboration.”

He adds: “The Wildfell Hall idea came from me. I grew up in the North and have family in Yorkshire and Lancashire. I love the bleakness of the Brontë moors, which gives them an ‘otherness’, while Anne’s book has a dark melancholy.”

Sean Clayton is MD of Nelson-based Peter Reed, which began manufacturing in 1861. Its bed linen has a Royal Warrant and features in luxury homes and hotels across the world.

Everything we produce is handmade to order,” says Sean, who by happy coincidence lives in Haworth and is au fait with the Brontë story.

“This collaboration with Giles brings together our mutual love of the North of England and its rich textile heritage and bespoke craftsmanship. Each piece of table linen will be made to order. This is art and the best linen combined.”

The throws are made in a family-run Yorkshire mill and start at £590 plus VAT, the placemats are £25.10 each plus VAT, the cocktail napkins are £19.08 each and the table napkins are £25.78 plus VAT.

The emphasis is on top quality, which will no doubt appeal to Peter Reed’s loyal client base and, of course, to Brontë fans who, by definition, have impeccable taste.

You can find the Dinner at Wildfell Hall collection at www.peterreed.com.