20 March 2011 – LibraryThing Early Reviewers

“Voysey decided early in his career that humankind’s spiritual growth hinged on qualities such as love, reverence, humility, self-sacrifice, simplicity and truthfulness – and that these were far from abstract; they could and must be given concrete form, in the humblest articles of daily life as well as in homes and public buildings. Every house Voysey built, every pattern that he drafted, every chair or coat hook he designed, reflected this conviction.” (p. 14)

This quotation sums up Voysey’s modus operandi. Most active in the 2 decades around the turn of the 20th century, Voysey was a descendent of Pugin and Morris’ homespun gothic and utlitarianism, but he disliked socialist collectivism and did not like being associated with Art Nouveau, believing instead in individualism and the art of, not copying but interpreting the flora and fauna around him into patterns for fabrics and papers, and in providing living conditions that were unfussy and easy to clean and live with.

Unlike similar books i’ve read on Morris, etc, this has a real, substantial text, interesting and well-referenced. It has been carefully proof-read and copy-edited, which I always appreciate. The illustrations are superb, with many full-page prints of his lovely wallpaper and fabric designs. However, most of the house plans are reproduced too small and faint to see the details of the floor plans, which surely other people than me would want to see and study?

A delightful and attractive book which I would recommend both to someone looking for an overview or a new designer to learn about, or someone needing a resource for patterns and references.