Thursday, October 3, 2013

Voysey Blue in Morris Modernized

Pyracantha from Morris Modernized

There is a shade of blue, just shy of blue violet, that is sometimes
called Voysey Blue

probably because it was favored by designer Charles F.A. Voysey.

I called it Bellflower Blue in my latest arts & crafts collection for Moda called Morris Modernized: C.F.A. Voysey.
It's an icy, cool blue.

One characteristic of late-19th-century art nouveau style was the use of shades that were off the true colors. The reason for the distinctive off-color shades was probably that dye technology had improved enough that these innovative colors were possible. Art nouveau designers used the sophisticated colors because they could.

I'm fussy cutting hexagons in this line. More later.

Bird & Berries

Lesley Jackson in Twentieth Century Pattern Design, who described Voysey as the "single most influential figure at the turn of the ...century," quotes him on color:

"Let us do our utmost to raise the colour sense from morbid sickly despondency to bright and hopeful cheeriness, crudity if you will rather than mud and mourning."

I love that art nouveau combination of an acid yellow and grayed blue-violets.
But "Bright and hopeful cheeriness"?

Sophisticated color complements seems more like it.

Bird & Tulip


This print, which I called Oleander, is also known as Hedgerow and given various dates from 1890 to 1910.
Oleander is an example of why Voysey was so influential. It just seems to be a standard. It looks like a Liberty print to me but I can find no record that Liberty ever produced it.

Here's a recent navy blue Liberty print with a similar look.

I was amazed to find Oleander on the back of an American comforter in an online auction.

The comforter and it's indigoes look older than the date 
of 1929 in one corner, but it may have been backed and
tied then.

The woman who finished it in 1929 chose an extremely up-to-date print in Voysey blue.

By the time Oleander found it's way to the back of an American comforter it had become a classic, probably copied by numerous print mills.

See a blog post on Voysey blue in movie sets here:

The Morris Modernized: CFA Voysey collection is available now as precuts. Yardage should be in shops in October.


  1. I love that blue quilt and the mix of blue shades throughout. I really love irish chain styles and trying to think of one I can make with flannels that is simple, but nice.


  2. Such beautiful fabric! Love it!