I can hardly contain my excitement from visiting Pallant House Gallery this morning for the Lucienne Day exhibit. In fact I just didn’t want to leave! Awf, the fabulous fabrics and furniture on display – I was in my element.


The exhibit consists of three rooms and the impact hits you the minute you walk into the gallery with wall hanging after wall hanging of Heals Lucienne Day fabric. Apparently most of the collection came from a couple in the USA. The fabrics were in amazing condition with next to no marks or use and really good sizes.

So down to the nitty gritty, apparently Lucienne Day was Heals star designer and Heals set the trend for placing the designers name on the fabric selvedge. Many other manufacturers such as David Whitehead didn’t start to put the name on the selvedge until the 60’s. This makes sense to me as I have a few 50’s textiles that I am convinced are designer Whitehead fabrics but there is no reference..

On closer inspection I found that the material content generally consists of three types – cotton crepe, cotton and glazed cotton. The description behind each textile was really thorough. Day really set trends with her designs and constantly explored and changed her ideas to reflect interior changes. Her early designs reflected that of a fine art painter.  Towards the end of the 50’s Day established a signature style by using linear black graphics on bold colour.

The image below shows ‘Plantation’ in a blue colourway – I have it for sale in my web shop in orange. Apparently this was a really popular design and remained on Heals shelves for seven years.

In the 60’s day introduced floral designs with four or five petals, she also continued with her signature abstract designs.

I really recommend this exhibition, but if you can’t make it I hope you have enjoyed my pictures..I’ve added a new group on Flickr especially for Lucienne Day textiles

About Vicky Grubb

Once a kitchen table Upholsterer, now a fully fledged tutor, author and hoarder of vintage fabrics. My Upholstery studio is based in Bournemouth, Dorset, where I live with my husband and two tinkers.

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