Alice and Wonderland

Nineteenth-Century Textile Design by C. F. A. Voysey
Victoria & Albert Museum

Textile design is a wonderfully historical documentation of art; not only does it often reflect the style of a time artistically, but it shows what designs were sought after and accessible to the population — what curtains longed to be made of, what was hanging on walls. Alice and Wonderland reminds us how important and influential literature was in the Victorian times; the arts have always overlapped, but the sheer flourish of literature in the Victorian times influenced art and design perhaps like no other. Here we have a true marriage of the arts: the characters are large, over-sized, full of personality and appropriately nonsensical, yet they are carefully arranged among a land of foliage — the tree that holds the Cheshire cat and the infamous red rose bush — but also traditional flowers, the thistle and the bluebell. Typical floral design has been the basis for this fabric, yet the incorporation of the characters has been seamless. Illustrative characters can play amongst the flowers of the arts and crafts, indicitive of a time where everyone was invited into the Victorian machine of decorative industry.


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