Elizabeth Joan Gibbons, who passed away on March 21 after a short illness, excelled in her ability to give almost always the correct answers.
She had a colourful, adventurous life. She grew up in Herefordshire where her father was a rector of the Church of England.
Eloped to India
At Birmingham College of Art Elizabeth studied textile design and fell in love at first sight with Peter Gibbons (PG to his friends) who studied architecture.
After Peter had completed his five-year course and had been awarded first prize at the Birmingham School of Architecture, they eloped and married in Delhi, India, in 1953, where Elizabeth promptly won first prize in an all India textile design competition.
Peter progressed in his career as a renowned architect and, together with Elizabeth and now five children in tow, they travelled and worked around the world. They met Mother Teresa in Calcutta and in London, Elizabeth allowed Vidal Sasoon to practise his iconic, geometric hair style, called the ‘bob cut’ on her flaming red hair.
Eventually back in England again, she taught needlework and dress design at the American School and at adult education centres in London. In the last 25 years of her life, she used her extensive knowledge of Asian, African and European textiles in exhibiting at Antiquarius, Olympia and antique textile fairs. She provided lace for Pride and Prejudice and other television programmes and films and added textiles and costumes to collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Elizabeth is survived by her husband Peter, her daughters Helena, Marianne and son Pasceo and nine grandchildren. She is now in the good company of her two sons Gabriel and Philip who have gone before her. She will rejoice in seeing all the textiles which have been lost over centuries and she will know the exact answers to the questions ‘when, where and how…’
Anne Swift, lace dealer Portobello Road