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Alister Maynard was educated at Gresham's School, Holt and Sandhurst. He served in the army for ten years in India, resigning his commission in 1933.

The previous year he had met Molly Wingfield in India; on their return to England in 1933 they were married and took a flat in 20 Berkeley Square. Immediately Alister Maynard established himself as a designer of modern luxury furniture and furnishing, opening his showroom in 1935 at 73 Grosvenor Street, London, W1.

From 1935 until the outbreak of war in 1939 he received many important commissions from Indian princes and English patrons including the Courtaulds, Derek Peachey and Sir Edward Hulton. His furniture in the Thirties was made by the Joel firm.