Charles Francis Annesley Voysey
Voysey was born in 1857 at Hessle, near Hull. His father was an Anglican minister also called Charles, who became notorious for challenging the truth of the Bible and was declared a heretic. The family then moved to London where Charles Snr set up the Theistic Church.
Voysey was mainly home schooled, briefly going to Dulwich College. In 1874 he was articled to architect J.P. Seddon, staying until 1879, then moving on to assist Henry Saxon Snell before going to the office of George Davey.
In 1881 he opened his own practice. He cemented his reputation 10 years later by the construction of Tower House in Bedford Park, Chiswick.
During his career he designed about 50 houses and became one of the go-to architects for the progressive middle-class clients in the UK.
Some of his most famous buildings include Greyfriars in Surrey; the Orchard – his own home – in Chorleywood; Broadleys in Windermere; and Littleholme in Kendall. His architectural work dried up before World War I, thought to be partly due to a change in fashion and partly because of his uncompromising ways.
Voysey was also a distinguished designer of wallpapers, fabrics, tiles and carpets, his designs featuring swirly stylised natural forms, especially plants and birds.
His Squirrel and Dove design wallpaper was first produced by Sanderson in the 1890s and is still being sold today. He was more prolific as a pattern designer than as an architect and his career in this spanned from the 1880s to the 1930s.
He established a reputation as one of the greatest forces in English Arts and Crafts and he is said to have influenced and inspired many younger architects such as Edwin Lutyens, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Raymond Unwin and Mackay Baillie Scott.
He finally won recognition for his work in 1931 with an exhibition, followed in 1936 by a Royal Society of Arts Award and finally, a RIBA Gold Medal in 1940. He died in February 1941.
Meeting of the Voysey Society gathered at Whitwood in 2015.
Charles F.A Voysey.