Design: First-Class Deliveries

No 3: Duntisbourne
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The Independent Culture
A HUNDRED years ago, Gloucestershire was a hotbed of the Arts & Crafts movement. A century on, a quintessential Cotswold stone house has become the essence of Duntisbourne, Britain's brand-new, first-ever mail-order catalogue devoted to handmade objects. Marketed as a "new trading concept, working with British craftspeople and artisans in workshops, mills and studios throughout the countryside to bring their handmade and original products direct to you", and run by Venetia Hendry and Peter Duxbury, Duntisbourne is an ambitious venture that deserves to succeed.

The diverse range of items in the catalogue include: ceramic mugs and planters painted with jolly farmyard animals; a large dish boldly decorated with swirling salmon; a hand-forged, steel-pipe fire blower, just the ticket for breathing life into dying embers; expensive but good-looking wooden bowls and platters in ash, elm and sycamore; and a very World of Interiors-style ticking bolster with matching cushions.

The catalogue was photographed in and around the 14th-century Cotswold farmhouse. "I wanted it to have a quintessential, English country village look; it is more than a catalogue - it is very evocative," says Venetia Hendry.

Hendry and Duxbury applied three criteria when choosing what to stock: first, the product had to be handmade; second, British; and third, not widely available.

It will be interesting to see how Duntisbourne develops. As yet, the catalogue does not have a clear identity, but no doubt as Hendry and Duxbury discover what sells, it will become more focused.

Best item: Steel bootscrape and pull, pounds 34.95

Worst item: Peach and rose magazine rack, pounds 79.95

Cheapest item: Six antique marble-effect coloured candles, pounds 5.95.

Duntisbourne, 0161-980 5880.

Freepost NWW5427, Altrincham WA15 8BR. On the Internet at:



Amicia de Moubray