Press Release:
Lucienne Day 2017 Centenary celebrations

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The 5th of January 2017 is the centenary of the birth of British designer Lucienne Day.

In celebration of the life and work of one of most influential designers of the post-war generation, the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation is organising a nationwide programme of exhibitions, events, awards and collaborations to run throughout 2017.

(Left) Lucienne Day with Calyx, Heal's, 1951. © Robin & Lucienne Day Foundation (Right) Reissue of Calyx, Classic Textiles, 2003. © Robin & Lucienne Day Foundation

(Left) Lucienne Day with Calyx, Heal’s, 1951. © Robin & Lucienne Day Foundation (Right) Reissue of Calyx, Classic Textiles, 2003. © Robin & Lucienne Day Foundation

Best known for her textiles, Lucienne Day was a virtuoso pattern designer and colourist in a wide range of media including wallpapers, carpets, ceramics and hand-stitched fine art ‘silk mosaics’. In the course of her six-decade career she created an extraordinarily varied but distinctive body of work; designs like her Festival of Britain print Calyx still look as fresh and contemporary as when they were first launched. She was inspired by 20th century abstract art, the world’s great decorative art traditions, and her lifelong personal fascination with plant forms. She handled her palette of predominantly strong colours with great subtlety and originality. For twenty-five years, Heal’s star textile designer, Lucienne Day also produced work for numerous other clients in Britain and abroad, including John Lewis, Edinburgh Weavers, British Celanese, Tomkinson’s carpets, Irish linen company Thomas Somerset, and German wallpaper and ceramics firms Rasch and Rosenthal. From the early 1960s she collaborated with her husband Robin Day on BOAC aircraft interiors and a design consultancy to John Lewis. In the late 1970s she began a second career when she invented a new textile medium, the silk mosaic. These hand-stitched fine art wall hangings were widely exhibited and still grace public buildings all over the world.

Lucienne Day is remembered not only as a great designer, but also as a pioneering professional woman whose achievements were on a par with those of her husband, furniture designer Robin Day. The couple shared a belief that good design should be affordable and accessible.

(Left) Lucienne Day with Rosenthal china in living room at Cheyne Walk. © Robin & Lucienne Day Foundation. (Right) Black Leaf tea towel, Lucienne Day, Thomas Somerset, 1959 Collection of Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III, Denver

(Left) Lucienne Day with Rosenthal china in living room at Cheyne Walk. © Robin & Lucienne Day Foundation. (Right) Black Leaf tea towel, Lucienne Day, Thomas Somerset, 1959
Collection of Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III, Denver

In the course of the year-long centenary programme, leading cultural organisations, galleries and creative institutions including The Whitworth Art Gallery, the RCA, Arts University Bournemouth, Glasgow School of Art, Pallant House Gallery, the Textile Society and The Museum of Carpet will launch exhibitions, events and awards to highlight many different aspects of Lucienne Day’s work.

The varied programme will introduce the public to fascinating and little-known material, including archive textiles, ceramics, photographs and portraits of Lucienne Day that have never before been exhibited or published.

During the year new product ranges will be launched by John Lewis and specialist design retailers and publishers in collaboration with the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation.

Paula Day, daughter of Lucienne and Robin Day and chair of the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, comments:

“I’ve long been aware how widely and warmly people respond to my mother’s work. In the coming year the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, the design education charity I set up in my parents’ memory, will provide an umbrella for venues up and down the country to show and share their Lucienne Day archive collections or new creative collaborations. This is a wonderful tribute from the people of Britain to one of our best-loved designers in her centenary year. It makes me very proud”.

END

Notes to Editors

About Lucienne Day
After discovering a love of printed textiles while studying at the Croydon School of Art, Lucienne went on to attend the Royal College of Art where she met furniture designer Robin Day in 1940. They married in 1942 and achieved celebrity in the 1950s as the designer couple who brightened postwar Britain. Lucienne Day died on 30 January 2010 aged 93. The couple’s only child Paula Day established The Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation in 2012.

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

About the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation
Robin and Lucienne’s daughter Paula Day set up the Foundation in 2012 to further public knowledge of and access to her parents’ design legacies, and to provide resources for the study of design. The Foundation is run by a Board of Trustees chaired by Paula Day. Professor Sir Christopher Frayling and Fiona MacCarthy OBE are Patrons.

As a design education Charity dedicated to furthering public knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the Days’ design legacies, the Foundation has made donations from Robin and Lucienne’s personal design archive to leading public collections including the V&A Museum, London, the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester and the Geffrye Museum, London. The Foundation also works closely with design writers and curators to provide information about the Days’ design careers, and has now digitized both Robin and Lucienne Day’s historic design photograph archives to create an important educational resource. In 2015 the Foundation celebrated Robin Day’s centenary with Day in London, a series of exhibitions and events held during the London Design Festival. This included Robin Day Works in Wood, an exhibition exploring Robin Day’s lifelong love of wood as a material, which took place at the V&A Museum.

The Foundation encourages public access to Robin and Lucienne Day’s design legacies by working closely with selected companies that have a commitment to making high-quality authentic new productions of the Days’ original designs. All royalties are paid directly to the Foundation to support its educational work.

Foundation Chair Paula Day says, ‘I set up the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation to carry my parents’ great design legacies forward into the future and provide resources to help educate tomorrow’s great designers.’

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THE ROBIN AND LUCIENNE DAY FOUNDATION – REGISTERED CHARITY NUMBER 1147979