The Art and Architecture of C.F.A. Voysey: English Pioneer Modernist Architect & Designer

Images Publishing

David Cole

  • CFA Voysey is regarded as one of the pioneers of the Modern movement of architecture and design, and one of the most influential and important of all the 19th and early 20th century British designers. He designer over 60 houses throughout England, from small cottages and gate lodges to suburban houses and substantial country house commissions. Voysey was the complete designer he designed all manner of objects, from wallpaper to cutlery, textiles to furniture, war memorials to stained glass windows, and bookplates.

    As a leading figure of the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain his fame and influence extended to the United States to the next generation of American Arts and Crafts architects and early Modernists, notably Greene & Greene, Bernard Maybeck and Frank Lloyd Wright. In Europe, fundamental aspects of Voyseys design approach were embraced by the Dutch De Stijl group; during the 1920s, and eventually also by the German Bauhaus movement.

    Voysey was renowned also for his beautiful watercolour drawings. He retained the vast majority of his own drawings throughout his career, and late in life arranged for these to be donated to the Royal Institute of British Architects.ᅠ

  • ISBN: 9781864706048

    Dimensions: 289mm x 376mm

    Page Count: 256

    Publication Date: March 2015

    Colour: Full Colour

  • Excellent review by Design History Society UK

    SPAB Magazine, Spring 2016

    Without even opening the book, with its striking proportions and unmistakable watercolour illustration on the front cover there can be no doubt that this is more than an essay on architecture. It is a sumptuous and richly illustrated ode to the individualist that was CFA Voysey. The book explains well the way that Voysey represented his work through his drawings, giving us an insight in to how the architect designer saw his own work Unlike the now possibly more famous Lutyens, who thought his drawings ‘a letter to the builder, not a picture to charm the client’, Voysey appears to have been quite self-conscious of the wider impact of his beautiful and artfully laid out plans. His watercolour drawings are an extension of and an expression of his desire to design not merely a vehicle to convey information. David Cole sets the scene well with an introduction and short concise chapters that cover the ages of Voysey’s professional life and influence. This initial section is followed by a mass of lavish illustrations of elevations, perspectives and details drawings and interiors, taken almost entirely from the extensive RIBA collection. They are all represented in colour and provide a visual wealth of direct information about Voysey and his craft as an artist as well as architect. Finally, we have almost 100 pages of large-format colour photographs taken by the author that, if you were still in doubt, confirm Voysey’s unswerving approach from his initial designs as a young man in the late 1880s through to his unbuilt designs prepared in the 1920s while in his 70s. The accompanying text well describes Voysey’s attention to detail. The book is a useful source with a valuable bibliography and list of extant buildings, a tick-list for the enthusiast. And while this book will be enjoyed by the devotee it will also have a respected place in the life of any purposeful architect designer.


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