David Pye

There’s a very good account of David Pye’s life and work in the DNB by Rosemary Hill, who interviewed him in the Guardian in 1986.   The son of a wine merchant who made jewellery in his spare time and nephew of Sybil Pye, the bookbinder, he went to Winchester, which perhaps contributed to the austerity of his intellect, and then to the AA before the war, where he turned against modernism towards boatbuilding and working in wood.   After the war, he was recruited by Dick Russell, Gordon’s brother, to teach at the RCA.   He wrote, ‘Little is ever said which touches on the fundamental principles of useful design, and what is said is often nonsense’.   What he wrote was not nonsense, but astringently thoughtful about the processes of making.

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