Arts and Crafts: Decorating with Head, Hand and Heart

As a stylist/journalist I am often asked what I think the latest trends might be. At any one time, there are inevitably more than just one but there are sometimes a few trends which stand out more than others. Whilst I don’t personally adhere to every one, I do get a thrill when something comes along that has a meaningful design ethos, such as the current Arts & Crafts  interiors and fashion trend. This is set to be fuelled by a large retrospective of Edward Burne-Jones on now at Tate Britain until 24 February 2019. 

A handmade tale

Today’s home makers and shoppers are perhaps more in tune with the ideas of the Arts and Crafts movement than ever. People are turning their backs on the mass production available in the high street, and are drawn to quality and handmade items that resonate with the landscape and nature. They are also getting involved in making it for themselves.

Bowl on Arts & Crafts bureau by Fiona Adam.

Voysey collection at Lewis & Wood

As part of a Pink Blush Interiors post in March, I shared Lewis & Wood’s ‘Berry Brothers’ design from their new C F A Voysey-inspired wallpaper and fabric collection. The collection includes in true Lewis & Wood style some magical designs in several hues from soft greys, blues and pinks to Voysey Park in ‘verdure’ which I am featuring here.

Voysey Park Wallpaper in Verdure (cushion)- Voysey Collecton SS18[24061]
Voysey Park in Verdure wide width wallpaper by Lewis & Wood.

Heartfelt designer

Most people have heard of William Morris (deserves a whole other blog post – check out Morris & Co at The Style Library) but are maybe not as familiar with the work of C F A Voysey (1857 – 1941). Charles Voysey was an English architect renowned for country houses (such as Broad Leys and Perrycroft below), he was also a designer of furniture, fabric and wallpaper. The Sanderson wallpaper factory was designed by Voysey in Chiswick in 1901. It is named Voysey House in his memory.

Broad Leys, Windermere, Lake District by C F A Voysey.
‘Broad Leys’, Windermere, Lake District, designed by architect C F A Voysey. The window panes are multi faceted which was also popularised by English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1868 – 1944).  The idea was that the facets would glint as they caught the light. A design idea Creative Director of Lewis & Wood Magdalen Jebb has translated into one of the fabrics in the new Voysey collection. The leaves on Berry Brothers have been painted in varying strengths so that they look like they are fluttering in the wind. It is this level of  attention to detail that makes a design truly great and the reason why you should always consider hiring a professional architect, creative director, interior designer or stylist!
Perrycroft a house designed by C F A Voysey in the Malvern Hills. There are three holiday cottages to hire in the grounds.

This image of a rather hawkish looking Charles Voysey was first shown to me by Magdalen Jebb, creative director of Lewis & Wood. As Magdalen pointed out, for such a severe-looking man (in this image at least), he produced some rather heartfelt and tender designs.

C F A Voysey

Arts & Crafts mood board

The main ingredients for decorating an Arts & Crafts inspired scheme are textural seagrass/wooden flooring, weaves, naïve prints as well as a good dash of honest handthrown earthenware. Painted panelling wouldn’t go amiss either in a modern day Arts & Crafts home. My prediction for Autumn/Winter 2018 wall colour is that the darker greys and indigos are going to give way to olive green, which will range in shades from Farrow & Ball’s Yeabridge Green to Little Greene’s Olive. Little Greene are launching a new range of greens in collaboration with The National Trust in September 2018.

Top row: handthrown mug by Fiona Adam; Tulip 06 Pea, fabric Annie Shrive, Sisal Aztec Alabaster SZ752 flooring, Crucial Trading; Middle row: Batik by Susan Deliss in Peridot LW263530, Lewis & Wood; Jigsaw Stripe Green BG1800202, Barneby Gates; Voysey Park Verdure LW274193 wide width wallpaper, Lewis & Wood Bottom row: Poppy II 06 Pea, Annie Shrive; Kintbury Stripe 1207/4 Cactus, Guy Goodfellow Collection. Photo and styling: Charis White
Philadelphus (Mock Orange) buds. Photo: Charis White

Ceramics made with ‘Head, Hand and Heart’

The motto ‘Head Hand and Heart’ is taken from an inscription used by Charles Voysey, which became the motto for the Society of Designers in 1896. These words are key to understanding Arts and Crafts (1850 – 1915): ‘Head’ for creativity and imagination, ‘Hand’ for skill and craft, ‘Heart’ for honesty and for love.

Kate Garwood jug
Handthrown jug, £50 by Kate Garwood.
Voysey Park in verdure wide width wallpaper, Lewis & Wood. Handthrown ceramic vase, £15, Fiona Adam. Photo and styling, Charis White.

Ben Pentreath’s Arts & Crafts interior design

Hampstead house interior designed by Ben with Arts & Crafts influences.

Arts & Crafts and Aesthetic Movement antiques

This Aesthetic Movement (1870 – 1880) chair isn’t one of the many chair designs which languish forgotten in junk and antique shops. It is a rather fine example of an Aesthetic Movement side chair in walnut upholstered in an olive/cream stripe. The chair is for sale in the John Fowler and Sibyl Colefax showroom. Other specialists of Arts & Crafts furniture and accessories include Patch Rogers in Petworth, Sussex.

Aesthetic Movement side chair in walnut at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler showroom. Photo: Charis White.

Catwalk inspiration

I am so glad that the dress is back! Feminity is once again being celebrated in a way that is flattering to all. I am pretty sure that both the Pre-Raphaelites and Laura Ashley (in her early design days of the 60s and 70s) would very much approve of British designer Molly Goddard’s catwalk designs. Perfect for any modern day Pre-Raphaelite.

Molly Goddard
Molly Goddard
AW18 Molly Goddard

Swatch watch

Texture and woven fabrics really give a decorating scheme class as well as practicality. Jaine McCormack is the creative director and designer who set up the Guy Goodfellow Collection 10 years ago and designed Kintbury Stripe (a woven fabric seen in the middle).

Jaine says, “it orginated from a woven Syrian blanket dating from the early 20th Century. Particularly sad now, as the great Syrian weave culture has been all but obliterated by the war. The original was woven from goat hair and we used wool to capture some of the original texture.”

Top: Tulip 06 Pea by Annie Shrive; Sisal Aztec Alabaster SZ752, Crucial Trading; Kintbury Stripe 1207/4 Cactus, Guy Goodfellow Collection; Batik Peridot by Susan Deliss, Lewis & Wood; Voysey Park wide width wallpaper, Lewis & Wood; Poppy II 06 Pea, Annie Shrive. Photo and styling: Charis White

An independent textile and print designer whose work I have my eye on is Annie Shrive who designs these very pretty print fabrics (at the top of the Swatch Watch pile) from her garden home office in rural Lincolnshire. One of Annie’s design heroes is William Morris and she also gains inspiration from flora, fauna, world folklore, architecture and symbolism.

White Vintage Shop

You can ‘shop the Arts & Crafts look’ with these two vintage items at my online shop White Vintage. 

Collage 2018-06-13 17_32_44
Pewter coffee pot with woven wicker handle, £35 for sale in the Shop. Voysey Park wide width wallpaper in Verdure, Lewis & Wood. Photo and styling, Charis White

Arts & Crafts exhibitions

An Edward Burne-Jones exhibition at Tate Modern showcasing 150 of his works in different media including painting, stained glass and tapestry will be shown for the first time in London for 40 years: 24 October 2018 – 24 February 2019.

David Parr House, Gwydir Street  (off Mill Road) Cambridge (@David Parr house) has been lived in by the same family for over 100 years and behind its humble terraced exterior are handpainted interiors in rich Arts & Crafts designs. (I used to cycle to college past it every day without realising it was there!) Opens to the public in 2019 but you can follow progress on Instagram (@DavidParrHouse)

Thank you

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have enjoyed it!


Finally, if you or your friends would like to receive email alerts for future blog posts, then please just press the large blue ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of a post.  Many apologies to the few eagle eyed who spotted that I accidentally posted this blog when it was very much in draft form! Charis x

9 thoughts on “Arts and Crafts: Decorating with Head, Hand and Heart

  1. Ha ha yes, there is something rather wonderful about all the different shades of green. By rights I should be wearing it too, as it is a subconscious habit of stylists to fully embrace the project they are working on! 💚💚💚


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.