The Lost Sister ~ The Red House
THE STORY OF THE LOST SISTER & THE RED HOUSE
Inspired by the story of the Lucy Faulkner ~ Lost Sister
Based on the Red House in Bexley Heath at the time when William Morris – artist, designer, poet, novel¬¬¬¬ist and social activist lived there in the mid 1800s.
Morris wanted the house to look like a jewel box. It was painted and adorned by his companions including Webb, Rossetti and Burne-Jones. He wrote – have nothing in the house ‘which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’. On the second floor, the living room fireplace is painted with the motto, Ars Longa, Vita Brevis: “Life is short, art is forever.”
William Morris visited Macclesfield (where Frances Nutt London scarves are digitally printed) to learn more about natural dyes from local silk manufacturer Thomas Wardle and gave a lecture at the School of Art in 1889 about the Arts and Crafts movement.
“Morris was one of a formal group of people in the mid-19th Century who grew increasingly concerned about the far-reaching effects of the Industrial Revolution…critics in the vein of John Ruskin felt that modern manufacturing processes deprived workers of the satisfaction of handcrafting, and that consumers were surrounding themselves with soulless products…the home should serve as a spiritual and moral respite from the chaos of the cities, a philosophy termed the “Cult of Domesticity.”
The perceived solution was a revival of the medieval “Guild” mode of production, in which craftsmen were directly involved in the entire manufacturing process.” (Archdaily.com)
I was curious about Lucy Faulkner one of two sisters who worked as part of “The Firm” started by their brother Charles Faulkner and William Morris. Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Company produced mural decoration, stained glass, metal work and furniture.
Lucy Faulkner created fairy tale illustrations on ceramic tiles, embroideries and engravings including for Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Goblin Market. The sisters Lucy and Kate Faulkner began as amateurs and developed into professional crafts women contributing to many items produced by the firm.
My design is called ‘The Lost Sister’. Lucy married an engraver and bookbinder called Harvey OrrinSmith and with the change of name became lost in history much of her work was misattributed to her sister Kate and only lately rediscovered with her initials LF or LJF. She continued to work for her husband making wood engravings for Smith and Linton in Hatton Garden. As Mrs OrrinSmith she wrote, illustrated and published a book called ‘The Drawing Room: Its Decorations and Furniture’ (1878). This includes a discussion on colour theory.
The draft design combines an etching style illustration of the bear from LJF’s tile painting of the Beauty and the Beast and botanical drawings of Sleeping Beauty’s red roses. The lines in the image represent the wood engraving marks carved by her hand and the background pattern is created from details in Lucy’s book on interior design and from the architecture of the Red House.
Frances Nutt London works in accordance with the tradition of useful decoration combined with artifice and charm to consciously beautify our environment.