Margaret Howell's 2021 calendar features the work of Paul and Marjorie Abbatt, who founded their company in 1932 to produce and sell toys and play equipment based on studies of how children play. Simple, colourful and robust, their modern products helped to shape the lives of generations of children.
After a year’s tour of Europe in 1931, Paul and Marjorie Abbatt displayed the educational toys they had brought back, and shared their excitement about new styles of early-years schooling in Vienna, Prague and Berlin. This led to them setting up a company to manufacture and sell toys, mostly made of wood, offering advice to teachers and parents with the slogan ‘The Right Toy for the Right Age.’
Early on, they became friends with Ernö Goldfinger, around the time he moved from Paris to London. He designed interiors for their flat and workshop in Bloomsbury, and in 1936 their showroom at 94 Wimpole Street. He also designed toys, exhibition installations and special children’s furniture. Other artists and designers created jigsaw puzzles and picture trays, notably Freda Skinner and Madeleine Robinson.