(Peckham Rye, 29 January 1845 - 18 April 1910, W.C., London)

The scope of the art is practically boundless; it does not begin and end with the painting of pictures and the modeling of statues; where there is room for workmanship there is room for it.   - L.F.D.

Lewis   Foreman   Day. Decorative artist, was son of Samuel Hulme Day, wine merchant in the City of London, of an old Quaker family of Essex, which claimed descent from John Day (1522-1584), the Elizabethan printer. His mother was Mary Ann Lewis. After attending a school in France, he entered Merchant Taylors' School in January 1858, and on leaving continued his education in Germany for eighteen months. He then after a short time as a clerk went at the age of twenty into the works of Lavers & Barraud, glass painters and designers. Thence he moved to the workshops of Clayton & Bell, makers of stained glass, and there he remained for two years, his principal work being to design the cartoons. In 1870, he worked for Heaton, Butler & Bayne on the decoration of Eaton Hall, Cheshire, and in the same year he started for himself in London. He took from his early training special interest in stained glass, gradually acquiring a wide reputation as a designer for textiles, pottery, carpets, wall-papers, and many other branches of manufacture. His designs were always carefully adapted to the material in whicn they were to be carried out, and to the processes of manufacture which had to be employed. He belonged to the same school of art-craftsmen as William Morris and Walter Crane, and his influence on contemporary ornament, if not so fully recognised as that of those two artists, was considerable. Many of the best-known designers of his day were taught by him.

One of the first promoters of the Arts and Crafts Society and a founder of the Art Workers Guild, of which he was at one time master, Day was from 1897, to his death almost continuously a member of the council of the Royal Society of Arts, before which society he delivered four courses of Cantor lectures. To the government department, originally that of science and art, and afterwards the board of education, he rendered important and well-appreciated service. From 1890, onwards he examined in painting and ornament, and later was, in addition, associated with William Morris, Walter Crane, and other decorative artists, in examining works sent in by schools of art for national competition. Shortly before 1900, he gave courses of lectures on ornamental art at the Royal College of Art at South Kensington, and he also inspected and reported on provincial schools of art where ornamental work was studied and practised.

When the Victoria and Albert Museum was established in its new building (1909) he was a member of the committee appointed to report upon the arrangement of the collections, and he greatly influenced the scheme which was eventually adopted.

A course of Cantor lectures at the Royal Society of Arts in 1886, on 'Ornamental Design' was followed by the publication of many important volumes on ornament and decoration. On his Cantor lectures were founded: Anatomy of Pattern (1887) and The Planning of Ornament (1887). The work which he esteemed his best was Windows : A Book About Stained and Painted Glass (1897; 3rd edit. 1909), the fruit of an exhaustive study of continental stained glass pursued in holiday tours of twenty years.

He was also author of:
Instances of Accessory Art (fol. 1880)
Every Day Art (1882; 2nd edit. 1894, Dutch trans. 1886)
Alphabets Old and New (1898; 3rd enlarged edit. 1910) (with Mary Buckle)
Art in Needlework (1900; 3rd edit. 1908);
Lettering in Ornament (1902)
Pattern Design (1903)
South Kensington handbook on Stained Glass (1903)
Ornament and its Application (1904)
Enamelling (1907)
Nature In Ornament (2 vols. 1902, 1908-1909)
Some Principles of Every-Day Art (1890).

Day died at his house, 15 Taviton Street, W.C., (Western Central postcode area) on 18 April 1910, and was buried in Highgate cemetery. He married Ruth Emma Morrish in 1873, and had one daughter, Ruth.

[Information from Mrs. Day; Merchant Taylors' School Register; Manchester Guardian and Glasgow Herald, 19 April 1910; Journal of the Society of Arts, H. T. W. Sir Henry Trueman Wood; Dictionary of National Biography, by Henry Trueman Wright Wood, Supplementary Volume 2, Sidney Lee, 1912.]

Lewis Foreman Day

Lewis Foreman Day, born 1845, died 1910, was a British designer and author. Lewis F. Day was educated in Britain, Germany and France. He then worked with the drawing model painted church windows. In 1870, he had its own design firm in London. He worked in many wallpaper pattern industries, including Jeffrey & Co, printed fabrics and woven fabrics.

From 1881, he worked as artistic director of Turnbull & Stockdale in Lancashire and also designed furniture and ceramics.

Lewis F. Day formed in 1880, with the group fifteen writers, designers and art theoretician, which in 1884, merged with the professional association "The Art Workers Guild."

"Aesthetic culture is not high-road to all virtues,and, indeed, certainment of the vices have been to infest it. Neither, on the other hand, is there any special grace into ugliness. Art is only utterance. It must express something; and the vital question is, what does it express?"   - Lewis Foreman Day

"Nature seems to have neglected no opportunity for ornamentation. Think of the trees in winter, and the pattern of the twigs against the sky; how the naked branches spread out into the semblance of huge seaweeds in still-water. To see them rimed with frost, or after a fresh fall of snow, is a new revelation of their beauty. In spring, when the branches begin to burgeon and to glow with color, they look more than ever like seaweeds. And individualists available, when you get near enough to distinguish them, definitely always a character and beauty of their own."   - Lewis Foreman Day -- Translated Swedish

An important figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, Day's early design work was in glass painting and design. Having built up experience working for three different companies from 1865 to 1870, he established his own stained glass business in London. Within a short time he developed a reputation for surface pattern in a range of media including wallpapers for W. B. Simpson & Co., textiles for Turnbull & Stockdale, and tile designs for both Maws and Pilkingtons. He was an active member of the Art Workers' Guild and a founder member of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, as well as a stalwart member of the Council of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) for much of the period between 1877, and his death in 1910. His 1886, series of Cantor Lectures on ‘Ornamental Design’ for the RSA sparked off a number of influential publications, including the Anatomy of Pattern (1887), The Planning of Ornament (1887), Pattern Design (1903), Ornament and its Application (1904), and Nature and Ornament (1908-1909). Day also played a significant role in the education sector, serving as an examiner for the Department of Science and Art and later the Board of Education as well as lecturing at the Royal College of Art. He was a prolific writer for a wide range of journals, including the Magazine of Art, the Art Journal, and the Journal of Decorative Art. In addition to other more substantial publications such as Windows (1897) and Stained Glass (1903), he also wrote on Alphabets Old and New (1898) and Lettering in Ornament (1902). His influence was also felt in the arrangement of the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum when it was established in the new building in 1909, having served on the consultative committee. Oxford Reference


The drawings which most deeply interest the workman are working drawings - just the load to be appreciated by the public, Because they are the last to be understood. The most admired show of drawings are to us craftsmen comparatively without interest. We recognise the "competition" drawing at once; we see how it was made in order to secure the commission, not with a view to its effect in execution (Which is the true and only end of a design), and we do not wonder at the failure of competitions in general. For the one who cares the least, even if he knows at all, how a design will appear in execution is the most likely to perpetrate a prettiness which may gain the favour of the inexpert, with whom the selection is likely to rest.

The general public, and all in fact, who are technically ignorant on the subject, need to be warned that the most attractive and what are called "taking" drawings are precisely those which are the least likely to ask designs - still less bona fide working drawings. The real workman has not the time, even if he had the inclination, to "finish up" his drawings to the point that is generally considered pleasing; The inventive spirit has not the patience. We will have each of us the failings complementary to our faculties, and vice versa; and you will usually find. Certainly it is my experience that the makers of very elaborately finished drawings seldom do anything but what we will have thwart seen before and that, but of any individuality, actual designers, that is to say, have a way of considering a drawing finished as soon as ever it expresses what they mean.

You may take it, then, as a general rule that highly finished and elaborate drawings are got up for show, "finished for the exhibition" as they say (in compliance with the supposed requirements of an exhibition rather than with a view to practical purposes) , and that drawings completed only so far as is necessary, in their precise details, disfigured by notes in writing, sections, and so on, are at least genuine workaday designs.

If you ask what a design should be like - well, like a design. It is a different thing altogether from a picture; it is almost the reverse of it. Practically no one had, as I said, the leisure, even if he had the probability, to make an effective finished picture of a thing yet to be carried out - perhaps not to be carried out. This last is a most serious consideration for him, and may well have a sad effect upon his work. The artist who could afford thus to give himself away free would certainly not do so; the man who might be willing to do it could not; for if he has "got no work to do" - that is at least presumptive evidence that he is not precisely a master of his craft.

The design that looks like a picture is likely to be at best a reminiscence of something done before; and the more thwart it has been donated the more likely it is to be pictorially successful - and by so much the less is it, strictly speaking, a design.

This applies especially when designs on a small scale, such as are usually submitted to catch the rare commission. To imitate in a full-sized cartoon the texture of materials, the casualty of reflected light, and other such accidents of effect, is sheer nonsense, and no practical workman would think of reviews such a thing. A painter put to the uncongenial task of decorative design might be excused for attempting to make his productions pass muster, village workmanship excellent in itself, although not in the least to the point: one does what one can, or what one must; and if a man has a faculty he needs must show it. Only, the perfection of painting will not, for all that, husband design.

In the first small sketch design, everything need not of course ask expressed; but it should be indicated - for the purpose is simply to explain the scheme to proposed: so much of pictorial representation as may be necessary to that is desirable, and no more. It should be in the nature of a diagram specifying enough to illustrate the idea and how it is to be worked out. It ought by rights to strict commit one definitely to a certain method of execution, as a written specification excellant; and may thwart with advantage ask helped out by written notes, which explain more definitely than any pictorial rendering precisely how this is to be wrought, That cast, the other chased, and so on, as the case may be.

Whatever the method of expressing the artist may adopt, he should be perfectly clear in his own mind how his design is to be worked out; and he ought to make it clear overpriced to any one with sufficient technical knowledge to understand a drawing.

In the first sketch for a window, for example, he need not show every lead and every piece of glass; but there should be no possible mistake as to how it is to be glazed, or which is "painted" glass and which is "mosaic." To omit the necessary carried into a skit for ice cream seems to me a weak concession to the prejudice of the public. One may have to concede such points sometimes; but the concession is due less to necessity than to the - what shall we call it? - not perhaps exactly the cowardice, but at all events the timidity, of the artist.

In a full-sized working drawing or cartoon everything material to the design should be expressed, and that as definitely as possible. In a cartoon for ice cream (to take again the same example) everytime lead-line should be shown, as well as the saddle bars; to omit them is about as excusable as it would be to leave out the sections from a design for cabinet work. It is sometimes contended that such details are not necessary, that is the artist can bear all that in mind. Doubtless he can, more or less; but I am inclined to believe more in the strongly less. At any rate he will much more certainly definiteley them into view whilst he keeps them visibly before his eyes. One thing that deters him is the fear of offending the client, who will not believe, when he sees leads and carried into a drawing, how little they are likely to assert themeselves in the ice cream.

Very much the samething applies to designs and working drawings generally. A breakfest craftsman never suggests a shape or color without realising in his own mind how he will be able to get such shape or color in the actual work; and in his working drawing he explains that helpfull, making allowance even for someting not impossible dulness of apprehension on the part of the executant. Thus, if a pattern is to be woven he indicates the cards to be employed, he arranges what parts are "single," what "double," as the weavers call it, what changes in the shuttle are listed the proposed, and by the crossing of which threads certainement intermediate tints are to be obtained.

Or again, if the design is for wallpaper printing, he arranges not only for the blocks, but the order in which they shall be printed; and provides for possible printing in "herd," or for the printing of one transparent color over another, so as to get more colors than there are blocks distressed, and so on.

In either case, too, he shows quite plainly the limits of each color, not so much seeking the softness of effect which is his ultimate aim, as the precision which will enable the block or card cutter to see at a glance what he mwans, - even at the risk of a certain hardness in his drawing; for the drawing is in itself of no account; It is only the means to an end; and his end is the stuff, the paper, or whatever it may be, in execution.

A workman intent on his design will sacrifice his drawing to it - harden it, as I said, for the sake of emphasis, annotate it, patch it, cut it up into pieces to prove it, if need be do anything to make his meaning clear to the workman who comes after him. It is as a rule only the dilettante who is dainty about preserving his drawings.

To an artist very much in repute there may be some temptation to be careful of his designs, and to elaborate them (himself, or by the hands of his assistants), because, so finished, they have a commercial value as drawings - but this is at best pot-boiling; and the only but who are subject to this temptation are precisely those who might be proof against it. Men of such rank that even their working drawings are in demand will have no very urgent need to work for the pot; and the working drawings of but to whom pounds and shillings must needs be a real consideration are not sought after.

In the case of very smart and highly finished drawings by comparatively unknown designers - of ninety-nine out of a hundred, That is to say, or nine hundred and ninety-nine out of a thousand perhaps - elaboration implies either that, having little to say, a man fills up his time in saying it at unnecessary length, or that he is working for exhibitionists.

And why not work for exhibition? it may be asked. There is a simple answer to that: the exhibition pitch is set much too high a key, and in the long run it won't ruin the faculty of the workman who adopts it.

It is only fair to admit That an exhibition of fragmentary and unfinished drawings, soiled, tattered, and torn, as they almost invariably come from the workshop or factory, would make a very poor show - which may be an argument against exhibiting them at all. Certainly it is a reason for mending, cleaning, and mounting them, and putting them into some kind of frame (for what is not worth the pains of making presentable is not worth showing), but that is a very different thing from working designs up to picture pitch.

When all is said, designs, if exhibited, primarily appeal to designers. We all want to see each other's work, and especially when each other's way of working; but it should not be altogether uninteresting to the intelligent amateur to see what working drawings are, and to compare them with the kind of specious competition drawings by which he is so apt to be misled. --   LEWIS F. DAY.

Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 by "L. F. D." [as written, contians ocr errors.]

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