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Introducing Silk Stripe by C.F.A Voysey

We're excited to launch Silk Stripe, our new wallpaper and border collection by C.F.A Voysey. Silk Stripe is taken from Voysey's design for a striped woven silk from 1918, found in the V&A archives. Silk has forever been considered a luxury material, but it is also highly versatile, having been used throughout history not only in textiles but for other instruments and practical objects. Voysey's work provided us with a similar versatility: from this single watercolour we were able to extract four different designs for borders and one for wallpaper.


This 1918 design tells the story of silk. It is a story both of splendour and the everyday: its origins are in ancient China, where it was initially reserved for the Emperor but later was used for items including paper, fishing lines and canvas for painting. It was kept a precious secret before being smuggled out and subsequently traded on the infamous Silk Road. What was once a functional material became a commodity coveted the world over. 

Voysey's hand-painted watercolour washes give the feel of a fine textile, but the flat, simplified Arts & Crafts motifs ground it in something more modest. Indeed, the movement aimed to raise the profile of decorative artists whose work had historically been given less exposure than painters and sculptors. Designers pleaded for 'fitness in the ornament to the thing ornamented'. 

Silk Stripe captures the opulence of silk whilst still offering a utilitarian Arts & Crafts sensibility: as it was in ancient China, this silk is both practical and precious.


These borders are taken from our Silk Stripe wallpaper. The opulence and renown of silk material is thanks to its unique lustre: when it catches the light, natural strands are highlighted. We like to think of wallpaper borders as the highlights you find in paintings, where the lightest areas tend to be added towards the end to give a subject its shape and form. It's the same with a room: borders like these have the potential to create real light and shade.

Check out the full collection here.


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