A leading figure in the British Arts and Crafts movement, Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857–1941) could easily have made a career out of pattern design alone, for his ingenious textiles and wall coverings in fresh, clear colors won him international acclaim. By the mid-1890s, however, he also was hailed as one of Britain’s most innovative architects. For the small country houses that were his specialty, he rejected the lavish ornamentation and historical trappings so beloved by the Victorians, relying instead on simple, expressive forms and materials. His influence on the field of architecture cannot be overstated. As one critic noted in 1927, Voysey “set architects in a new relation to their work. It is not only the things he did, but more particularly the spirit in which he addressed himself to his tasks, which places architects and architecture in his debt.”
Like other Arts and Crafts practitioners, Voysey believed that no aspect of a house was too small to merit the architect’s attention. Even by this standard his versatility was astonishing, encompassing all manner of furniture, cabinetry, fixtures, and floor and wall coverings. Behind literally every one of these elements—from the shape of a clothes hook to the sweep of a roofline—lay a strong and unorthodox spiritual philosophy that often set Voysey at odds with others in his profession, even as he rose to become a leading force among the architects and designers of his time. His wallpapers and textiles, in particular, reveal Voysey’s complex personality—his lifelong love of England’s flora and fauna, his belief that a reverent observation of the natural world might hasten humanity’s spiritual evolution, and his unusually whimsical (and occasionally wicked) sense of humor. Today his images are as beloved as they were then.
In C.F.A. Voysey: Architect, Designer, Individualist,
Anne Stewart O‘Donnell traces Voysey’s extraordinary creative output through his professional career while painting a vivid picture of Voysey, the man. Ninety full-color architectural and design drawings and historical black-and-white photographs illuminate the individualism of this singular artist.
This book profiles Voysey’s entire body of work, from his architectural designs for cottage houses to his interior designs for furniture, metalwork, wall coverings, and textiles.Praise for C. F. A. Voysey by readers at LibraryThing:
It is said that eBooks will completely take the place of the printed variety: nonsense—and this tome proves why. In addition to being the best explanation of the Arts and Craft movement that I have come across, and a biography of C.F.A. Voysey, this book is a delight to browse. The designs are treated with respect and the delightful layout and the quality of the reproductions of Voysey's works bring to life the original joy of seeing them.
This is a coffee table book, a biography, a history of the Arts and Craft movement and a pleasure to hold. It is some time since a modern book, passing through my hands, has given so much sensual gratification. It is a book that one just does not want to put down: it is a work of art in its own right.
[Voysey’s] stylized and elegant patterns display a mastery of colour and form that pleases even today and his reverence for the natural world is clearly evident.
[This] book is a wonderful introduction to a unique talent who should be better known in his homeland and beyond.