Without hesitation we choose south west London’s Tobias & The Angel over the hustle and bustle of central London for Christmas decoration shopping. This independent shop has been renowned for decades for its hand blocked textiles and custom built furniture. Angel Hughes opened the shop in 1986 with her former partner Tobias and perfected the art of upcycling years before it became fashionable.
For the majority of the year, Angel and her team prepare for the shop’s busiest time: Christmas. Angel sells handmade Christmas decorations including angels, stars and mohair Christmas tress explaining “I have to start in January and it’s a monumental job. It isn’t something you can catch up on”.
When founding the shop, Angel salvaged hundreds of wooden printing blocks from an ailing company and these now inspire the unique designs she creates today. We adore Angel’s designs and hand blocked textiles and have used her fabrics in many of our bedrooms, including the Terrace Suite at Ham Yard Hotel. In the Master Bedroom we have dressed the windows and signature Firmdale mannequin with Angel’s charming ‘Leaping Fox’ print.* This enchanting design pairs wonderfully with the intricate details of Natasha Hulse’s floral appliqué headboard.
For a recent residential project we used this design as a starting point, whilst the rest of the scheme follows with soft tones of blue and grey and subtle touches of olive green.
In room 311 at The Soho Hotel we have used Angel’s ‘Chambers’ print for the bed cushion fabric. Look closely and you will see the dappled paint effect within the design that highlights her hand block technique.
Join us as we ‘Meet the Maker’.
1. How would you describe Tobias & The Angel’s style in three words?
Spirited, detailed and individual.
2. Where do you get inspiration from?
I’m inspired by the past.
3. We love your 21st Century Yately prints. You use six specific colours throughout this collection. How and why did you choose this palette?
I love bold but subtle colours, which generally work together, sometimes surprisingly so. I bought the collection of Yately blocks in 2020. It was a vast collection of which I have chosen designs to work from, ranging from traditional Indian designs to those created by the Yately printers. These later blocks have a naive quality which I particularly like and often find inspiring.
4. What draws you to hand block?
Due to the variation of pressure applied to the block when printing, there is a liveliness to the surface pattern of the fabric. This gives the prints depth and charm.
5. How has your style has developed over the years?
The continuous variation of textiles that I work with, along with their antique nature makes what I do a constant learning curve.
6. What are you excited about?
Our Christmas show opens on the 24th November and we’ll exhibit our range of special Christmas decorations which we’ve been making throughout the year. We also plan to open our print showroom in White Hart Lane early next year.
We are so excited to visit Tobias & The Angel and see the variety of beautiful and unique Christmas decorations for sale. Head to south west London from November 24th to discover some remarkable and charming oddities.
*Angel’s fabric designs including woodland animals were made using printing blocks designed by Maria Yiannikkou.