12 January – 22 March 2017
Curated by Professor Emma Hunt and Dr. Paula Day
A centenary celebration of the birth and design legacy of one of Britain’s most influential textile designers, Lucienne Day.
This exhibition traces her design career through a photographic history, which unfolds in a sequence of images drawn from the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation.
The photographs show her Diploma show as a textile student at the Royal College of Art and lead up to her career breakthrough at the Festival of Britain 1951, with her pioneering ‘contemporary’ design Calyx. They also evidence Lucienne’s prolific output of patterns for furnishing and dress fabrics, table linen, carpets, wallpapers and ceramics for numerous companies in Britain and abroad during the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.
The exhibition includes a vibrant display of original silk mosaics and an impressive array of current and recent productions of her designs for curtains, dress fabrics and tea towels, demonstrating the continuing vitality of Lucienne’s design legacy.
For opening hours please see our visitor information.
Lucienne Day was one of Britain’s most pioneering textile designers, who brought contemporary colour to an otherwise drab post war Britain. Born in 1917, she graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1940 and married her designer husband, Robin Day, in 1942. One of her most famous designs, Calyx, was designed for the Homes and Gardens Pavilion at the Festival of Britain in 1951 and launched her design career. From that moment on Lucienne designed fabrics, wallpapers, ceramics and rugs on a commercial basis until later in her life when she focused more on one-of designs for her silk mosaics.
Lucienne Day Career Highlights
• 1951 – Designed Calyx textile for the Festival of Britain
• 1952 – Won the International Design Award of the American Institute of Decorators
• 1954 – Won the Gran Premio prize at the Milan Triennale
• 1957 – Won a Design Centre Award for Tesserae carpet, produced by Tomkinson’s
• 1960 – Won a Design Centre Award for Iinen tea towels, produced by Thomas Somerset
• 1960s – Designed the interiors for BOAC’s fleet of Super VC10 aircraft with Robin Day
• 1962 – Elected a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI)
• 1962 – Appointed as joint design consultant with Robin Day by John Lewis
• 1981 – Solo silk mosaics exhibition at Lyttelton Gallery, National Theatre, London
• 1983 – Solo silk mosaics exhibition at Rohsska Museum, Gothenberg, Sweden
• 1987 – Elected first woman Master of Royal Designers for Industry
• 1991 – Created largest silk mosaic Aspects of the Sun for John Lewis, Kingston
• 1992 – Appointed as the first Honorary President of the Textile Society
• 2004 – Awarded the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E)
• 2005- Awarded the Worshipful Company of Weavers’ Silver Medal for outstanding contribution to textile design
• 2009 – Received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Brighton along with Robin Day
The Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation
The Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation is an independent organisation chaired by Paula Day and run by a Board of Trustees.
The Foundation’s objectives are:
- To promote knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the nation’s design heritage in general, and the work of Robin and Lucienne Day in particular.
- To encourage provision of public access to the design legacies of Robin and Lucienne Day.
- To provide opportunities, in a form true to the democratic spirits of Robin and Lucienne Day, which will enable the general public or students of educational establishments to further their study of design in general, and furniture or textile design in particular.
The Foundation is committed to managing Robin and Lucienne Day’s designs in such a way as to maintain the integrity of their legacies. It endorses and licenses only high-quality, authentic productions of their original designs.
Meet the Curators
Professor Emma Hunt
Emma Hunt is Deputy Vice Chancellor at Arts University Bournemouth. She originally trained as a design historian with special interests in mid to late twentieth century British design particularly the role of small organisations and design identity in support of manufacture, such as The Festival of Britain, Poole Pottery and the Design and Industries Association, and the Electrical Association for Women.
The commercial aspects of design led to other research interests concerned with management, including design in higher education. Emma has held posts at the University of Huddersfield, Derby University, and AUB’s former incarnation of the Arts Institute, alongside visiting roles at Chelsea School of Art and Winchester School of Art.
Dr. Paula Day
Paula Day was born in London in 1954, the only child of designers Robin and Lucienne Day. She read English Literature at Cambridge and then moved to Cumbria, taking a Doctorate at Lancaster University in 1990.
For many years she ran her own business pioneering mountain walking holidays for women from her hillside home. She is a garden designer, poet and writer with a passion for singing and poetry in performance. Paula is the author of a book of poetry Tree, published in 2013 and dedicated to her parents.
After her parents died, she set up a design education charity, the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, to care for their work and pass on their design legacies as an inspiration for future generations.
Lucienne Day Centenary
The 5th of January 2017 marks the centenary of the birth of British designer Lucienne Day. In celebration of her life and work, The Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation is organising a nationwide programme of exhibitions, events, awards and collaborations throughout 2017.
Lucienne Day: Living Design at Arts University Bournemouth is the first major exhibition to launch a year-long nationwide programme that includes leading cultural organisations, galleries and creative institutions including; The Whitworth Art Gallery, the RCA, Glasgow School of Art, Pallant House Gallery, the Textile Society and The Museum of Carpet.
Background image: Provence hand block-printed wallpaper, Lucienne Day, John Line & Sons Ltd, 1951. Copyright Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation.