Philip Mairet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Philip Mairet (French: [mɛʁɛ]; full name: Philippe Auguste Mairet;[1] 1886–1975) was a designer, writer and journalist. He had a wide range of interest: crafts, Alfred Adler and psychiatry, and Social Credit. He translated major figures including Jean-Paul Sartre. He wrote biographies of Sir Patrick Geddes and A. R. Orage, with both of whom he was closely associated, as well as of John Middleton Murry. As editor of the New English Weekly in the 1930s, he championed both Christian socialism , as it was known at the time, and ideas on agriculture that would come together later as organic farming.[2]

Early life[edit]

Mairet was educated at the Hornsey School of Art, becoming a draughtsman and designer of stained glass.[3] As a young man he worked in graphic design for Charles Robert Ashbee and joined his Arts and Crafts community at Chipping Campden.[4][5] Mairet did the drawings for Ashbee's re-design of the Norman Chapel House in Broad Campden, and the 1907 commission for Colonel Shaw-Hellier's Villa San Giorgio in Taormina.[6][7] Fiona MacCarthy, the biographer of the architect, judges it "the most impressive of Ashbee's remaining buildings";[8] it survives as the Hotel Ashbee. Mairet also illustrated Conradin: A Philosophical Ballad (1908) and worked at one point for Sir Patrick Geddes.

The woman he eventually married, Ethel, was an influential hand loom weaver[9] and teacher. She was born in 1872, and in 1903 married Ananda Coomaraswamy, the geologist and art historian. Mairet worked on their house and became Ananda's secretary. The Coomaraswamy marriage broke down in 1913.[10] Mairet had come to Ditchling to work as a labourer.[11] He was avoiding conscripted military service during World War I, and developed an interest in glass-making. In 1917 he met and was influenced by Dimitrije Mitrinović, attached to the Serbian Delegation. Eventually Mairet was discovered, enrolled in the British Army, and spent a period in prison.[12]

Later life[edit]

From 1921 to 1924 he worked as an actor at the Old Vic.[13]

He began attending the editorial meetings of A. R. Orage.[14] Orage was a follower of Gurdjieff. Orage died suddenly in 1934, leaving the New English Weekly in limbo. Mairet, then the literary editor, emerged as the editor by a complex route: one group of Social Credit advocates wanted to exclude another group, of supporters of Mitrinović. Mairet was identified more with a third faction, the Chandos Group, around Maurice Reckitt, with Travers Symons, V. A. Demant, and Alan Porter.[15] This overlapped the Mitrinović group: there had been a shared interest in the journal Purpose, from 1929, and the theories of Adler were also a common factor.[16] Symons introduced Mairet to T. S. Eliot, who was holding the ring.[15] In practical terms the Chandos Group were already deeply involved in producing the New English Weekly, and were sympathetic to Social Credit.[17] He belonged to numerous other small societies and discussion groups of the period before World War II.[18] He joined Rolf Gardiner's Kinship in Husbandry group in 1941.[19] He edited The Frontier for Walter Moberly's Christian Frontier Council.[20]

He was an early supporter of George Orwell, giving him literary work for the New English Weekly, and writing in very positive and comprehending terms about Homage to Catalonia and Orwell's approach. He was a friend and long-time correspondent of T. S. Eliot, who dedicated his Notes towards the Definition of Culture to Mairet.[21] Mairet was one of the best-connected of all the British Christian intellectuals of that time.


  • An essay on crafts & obedience (1918), Douglas Pepler
  • ABC of Adler's psychology (1928)
  • Alfred Adler Problems of Neurosis (1929) editor, case histories
  • Aristocracy and the Meaning of Class Rule – An Essay upon Aristocracy Past and Future (1931)
  • The Douglas Manual: Being a Recension of Passages from the Works of Major C. H. Douglas, Outlining Social Credit (Stanley Nott, 1934) editor
  • A. R. Orage: a memoir (1936)
  • The Frontier (1951)
  • Christian Essays in Psychiatry (1956) editor
  • Pioneer of Sociology: The Life and Letters of Patrick Geddes (1957)
  • John Middleton Murry (1958)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Phillip Conford, The Origins of the Organic Movement (2001), chapter Philip Mairet and the New English Weekly.
  3. ^ Eric Homberger, Ezra Pound: The Critical Heritage (1997), p. 332.
  4. ^ (PDF) Archived 16 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, p. 3.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ RIBA archive drawings
  7. ^ University of Bradford Archive Reference: GB 0532 MAI. Letter from Mairet to Tom Heron dated 12 June 1971. "A highlight of his holiday was a visit to the Villa San Giorgio in Taormina, for which he executed the perspective drawings when working in C.R. Ashbee's office at Chipping Campden."
  8. ^ MacCarthy, Fiona.The Simple Life: C.R. Ashbee in the Cotswolds. University of California Press, 1981. Chapter 7, "The death of Conradin"
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Fiona MacCarthy, Eric Gill (1989), pp. 139.140.
  12. ^ Luisa Passerini, Europe in love, love in Europe: Imagination and Politics in Britain Between the Wars (1999), p. 773.
  13. ^ Simon Blaxland-de Lange, Owen Barfield: Romanticism Come of Age: a Biography (2006), pp. 144-5.
  14. ^ "And after the war, Edwin Muir, Herbert Read, Michael Arlen, Denis Saurat, Janko Lavrin, and Philip Mairet, to mention a few, attended regularly." (PDF), p. 43.
  15. ^ a b Jason Harding, The Criterion: Cultural Politics and Periodical Networks in Inter-War Britain (2002), pp. 191-2.
  16. ^ Mathew Thomson, Psychological Subjects: Identity, Culture, and Health in Twentieth-century Britain (2006), p. 91.
  17. ^ Peter Barberis, John McHugh, and Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations (2000), p. 80.
  18. ^ These included Oldham's Moot: Marjorie Reeves (editor), Christian Thinking and Social Order: Conviction Politics from the 1930s to the Present Day (1999), p, 25.
  19. ^ Julie V. Gottlieb, Thomas P. Linehan, The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain (2004), p. 187.
  20. ^ (PDF) Archived 20 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine, p. 21.
  21. ^ Alzina Stone Dale, T. S. Eliot: The Philosopher Poet (2004), p. 170.