One always noticed Marjorie Lawrence. She was petite in stature, wore clothes made of fascinating textiles that always carried a story, and draped about her were amulets and talismans hanging on choicely worked chains from various countries and cultures, displaying treasures that were found on the many travels that she and her delightful husband and also Hajji Member, Bob, took over the years. She would wear an embroidered hat, perhaps from Afghanistan; her hands were small, too, and every finger bore rings from Central Asia, from India, from North Africa…from the parts of the world where the Hajjis seek the rugs and textiles that absorb us and give us so much pleasure. For Marjorie and Bob, as they came back from their frequent forays, eventually there were so many textiles that they established The Pillowry, which became a Manhattan institution much frequented by collectors and designers over the years.
I was lucky enough to stay with them occasionally over the years, and there was always something rare and unusual to admire – such as an exquisite small child’s Indian costume (“finest I’ve seen, look at those blossoms, Rahasthaji, I think” from Marjorie holding it with a rapt pride), in addition to a recent find of an odd Kurdish bag-face or Chinese chair-back vying for attention among the various treasures in their splendid apartment.
Marjorie and Bob Lawrence saw more of the rug-weaving world than most of us, and loved it profoundly. We lost Bob a while ago. He graduated from West Point, was one of the first American officers to enter Rome and Florence after the end of the European Theater in the Second world War, and had a distinguished time serving there in the early time after the war. In later years he was an active documentary filmmaker.
To their family we send our profound condolences from the members of the Hajji Baba Club. Marjorie and Bob were hospitable and generous in sharing their pleasure in beautiful weavings so redolent with color, bringing glimpses of these worlds into our lives. By wearing the objects, the people who created the rings, the amulets and the beautiful workmanship were a reminder of far away places in a different time, constantly evoked by the adornments that Marjorie wore with with such dash and spirit; Marjorie and Bob Lawrence were ornaments of the Hajji Baba Club. We will miss them