Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Voysey's Birds

Englishman Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (phew, that's a name and a half) is one of my favourite textile designers and was possibly the finest designer and architect working in the Arts and Crafts realm. Voysey retained his eye for simplicity and purity of line throughout his career, and his wallpaper and textile designs enjoyed considerable international influence.

Alongside Voysey's wonderful use of colour, what attracts me most to his surface design output is his continuous use of bird motifs. Whether the design was for a textile or wallpaper, children's nursery, lounge room or kitchen, the ubiquitous bird announces his presence. Here are a few of my favourite Voysey bird designs:

'Squirrel and Vine' design for wallpaper from 1930, a design reminiscent of hand painted Chinese wallpapers.

'The Fairyland Design' wallpaper by Voysey c.1900. I would love to see this design in situ, I'm sure its effect in a nursery or young child's bedroom would be quite beautiful.

A watercolour and pencil design from 1918.

'Apothecary's Garden' was designed by Voysey c. 1926 in the later years of his career, yet still evokes the freshness of his earlier design work. 

'Seagulls', a design originally produced as a woven textile and wallpaper in 1891.

Design for wallpaper, 1891. V&A collection.

'In my Orchard' design for a nursery textile or wallpaper from 1929. I love the muted effect that the pale green ground provides.

'Purple Bird', a classic Voysey design for wallpaper and textiles from the turn of the 20th century.

'Bird and Rose' furnishing fabric design from 1897 - a quiet, undulating design in a soft colour palette.

 'Seagull and Pomegranate', designed by Voysey in 1891 for use as a woven furnishing fabric.

For more on C.F.A Voysey's textile and wallpaper patterns, take a look at these wonderful and informative websites:


  1. I know this is an old post, but I wanted to let you know how beautiful I found it to be! I am visiting London this June and will go to the V&A. I will make sure to seek out some of Voysey's designs.

  2. Hello Natalie, some lovely images of Voysey wallpaper. There are a few here that I have not seen before. I am also a lover of Voysey work and am privileged to work in a grade II* listed building designed by Charles Voysey, The Winsford Centre, a former Cottage Hospital and the only hospital designed and built by Voysey - very unique. www.winfordtrust.org.uk If you are ever in our next of the woods pop in for a visit, we have some lovely original features.

  3. Thanks for the link to your website Daniella - I will definitely be putting the Winsford Centre on my must-see list. What a lovely environment to work in!

  4. Well, I didn't know anything about Voysey, but I do know a thing or two about birds and squirrels, having lived with a large wooded yard for 22 years now. I was doing a search for 'bird and vine' wallpaper and came across this site. I wonder if 'vine and squirrel' is commercially available, I will have to do a search for that! Thanks so much for this wonderful revelation.

  5. Hi Jan,
    I love Voysey's timeless designs - and his Squirrel and Vine design with the pale blue background is one of my favourites! You can find this beautiful design here:

    I hope you enjoy the wildlife in your backyard, there are no squirrels in this part of the world, but plenty of noisy birds
    Best wishes,