Magazine article Newsweek International

The Royal Craftsman

Magazine article Newsweek International

The Royal Craftsman

Article excerpt

As the son of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon of Britain, David Linley grew up in homes (and castles) filled with some of the world's most beautiful furnishings. Apparently he took notice. In 1985 he launched Linley, a company specializing in handcrafted, made-to-order furniture, and in 1993 opened a store on Pimlico Road in London. In recent years the outfit has grown quickly--in part, he believes, because of an increase in demand for authenticity in today's virtual society. His grandmother, the Queen Mum, calls him "my craftsman grandson." He spoke recently with NEWSWEEK's Dana Thomas at his headquarters in London. Excerpts:

THOMAS: How did you get into this business?

LINLEY: My father was an inveterate inventor. He was always making things and encouraged my sister and I to make things. He had a pottery atelier at his cottage where we could do things you couldn't do at school, like mix glazes and watch them explode. And we spent a lot of time as children going around to workshops and factories to see different [manufacturing] procedures, from bicycles to shoes.

Was this because your mother had inaugurations and ribbon cuttings at those factories?

No, my parents both wanted us to understand the importance of making things. It is as honorable a trade as being a doctor or a lawyer.

You decided to study the arts in school, didn't you?

Yes, I went to Bedales, the arts-and-crafts school in Hampshire. In all the design classes, they were trying to fill our minds with things like how to mold plastic--the throwaway age--and I rebelled. …

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