Voysey’s furniture designs were simple and functional and were sparingly decorated. He tended to leave wood with a natural finish rather than the more fashionable technique of paint or stain. As a designer, Charles Voysey paid meticulous attention to detail. His characteristic heart shaped motifs can be seen on many of his pieces of furniture and even metalwork, such examples can be seen on the fire place surrounds at the Winsford Centre and in many other Voysey buildings.
Voysey’s furniture was made by F C Nielsen. His metalwork by Thomas Elsley & Co. and his textiles by Alexander Morton, GP&J. Baker, AH Lee, JW&C Ward, Stead McAlpin, Thomas Wardle, Turnbull & Stockdale, Donald Brothers, Foxton’s, Templeton’s, Tomkinson & Adam and sold to the shops Liberty & Co., Story’s and Wylie & Lochead.
Simplicity in decoration is one of the most essential qualities, without which, no true richness is possible. To know where to stop and not what to do is a long way on the road to being a great decorator”
By C F A Voysey.
Taken from The Studio Magazine Vol.7 No 38
This was Voysey’s philosophy, not only in his furniture design but also in his architecture. He believed in form over function.
Voysey was fascinated by clocks and designed many different types, ranging from domestic clocks, like the one in the image, to large examples intended for offices and public buildings. He owned a clock like this which was photographed in his home, The Orchard, Chorley Wood, Hertfordshire, in 1901. An almost identical clock belonged to Mary, Countess of Lovelace (1848-1941), an Arts and Crafts enthusiast. She and her husband commissioned designs from Voysey for a new house at Ockham Park, Surrey, in 1894.
Although this clock has an architectural shape and unusual decoration, it is fitted with a conventional movement. It is decorated with the childlike flat patterns that Voysey used for his textiles and wallpapers. There is an example of the clock at the Victoria & Albert Museum London.
Voysey’s original design for this clock, dated 1895, shows conventional roman numerals on the face. In 1896 he exhibited a clock with that type of face at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in London. By 1901 he had exchanged the numerals for the Latin phrase tempus fugit (‘time flies’), a characteristically neat reminder of the clock’s function.