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Lucienne Day

Lucienne Day designer

Desiree Lucienne Lisbeth Dulcie Day was born in Coulsden, Surrey in 1917. The daughter of a Belgian father and an English mother, Day was educated in Croydon and Worthing. In 1934 she enrolled at the Croydon School of Art where she began developing her interest in printed textiles. From there she went on to the Royal College of Art in 1937 and it was as part of the course there that she was sent on a placement to wallpaper firm Sanderson.

Day met her future husband Robin Day in 1940 and the two were married in September 1942. They set up home in Chelsea, London, decorating their home in Lucienne's textiles and Robin's furniture.

With the end of the war, Day began her career as a freelance textile designer. Although beginning with dress fabrics Lucienne soon moved into furnishing fabrics. After initial projects for Edinburgh Weavers in 1949, Lucienne was soon commissioned by Heal's. Her 'Fluellin' fabric design marked the start of her relationship with the company.

The Festival of Britain in 1951 provided the perfect opportunity for Day to showcase her designs. She displayed a number of textiles and wallpapers in the Homes and Gardens Pavilion including her most famous design Calyx.

Calyx fabric by Lucienne Day

Calyx was an unashamedly modernist design and Heal's, for whom she designed it, were initially sceptical about its commercial viability. Despite this it went on to be enormously successful, selling in large quantities for many years and also winning a Gold Medal at the Milan Triennale in 1951.

Following the success of Calyx Lucienne Day continued working with Heal's for many years and produced many famous designs for them. She also worked with Liberty's, Edinburgh Weavers, Cavendish Textiles and the John Lewis Partnership.

In the 1960s she also worked with Thomas Somerset weavers and their subsidiary Fragonard for whom she designed a series of highly successful tea towels.

Lucienne and Robin retired to Chichester in Sussex in 2000 and Lucienne died on 30 January 2010 at the age of 93