Name:

Becky May MA Conservation of Fine Art

Job Title:

PhD Research Student

Department:

School of Design

Contact:

Image:

Unsigned carpet design on point paper,
likely to have been made by CFA Voysey

Unsigned carpet design on point paper,

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Becky May

Point Paper Patterns: Unravelling the Designs for Weave of Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857-1941)

Supervisors: Dr Helen McCormack, Dr Helena Britt.


This research investigates the designs for weave by the eminent architect and designer CFA Voysey, whose repertoire included innovative works for a number of carpet manufacturers. Voysey typifies the designer of the period, encompassing a style that merged Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and Modernism across a variety of objects. Importantly, designs that have yet to be securely attributed to Voysey are a significant feature of this research which involves deep contextual research, historical investigation, surveying, technical, and instrumental analysis, in order to reveal the provenance of these designs and the extent and diversity of Voysey’s designs for weave overall.

Voysey is known to have held strong social and moral beliefs, referring to himself as ‘the last disciple of Pugin’ (Voysey, 1935). Are these ideas ascribed in his designs for weave (in terms of their aesthetic, structure, and physical composition) as in his architecture? As with many designers working during this period, Voysey’s moral conviction guided his working practices, even down to materials, pigments and suppliers of materials. Can this be discerned from an examination of his designs?

The relationship between CFA Voysey’s work as an architect and his designs for textiles has been given little attention. Therefore this project considers his carpet designs, incorporating his ideological and philosophical ideas, to reveal the extent to which these affected his working practices. In this sense the research explores materials, papers, motifs, imagery and palette, as a design ‘vocabulary’. Significantly, this vocabulary will provide clues as to the provenance of designs in existing archives and reveal new knowledge of Voysey’s influences and practices. A close familiarisation with Voysey’s working materials in weave might also reflect on his architectural schemes. The practice-led aspect of this research project is rooted in conservation practice and woven textiles.