Lewis F. Day Collection

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The origin and function of this interesting group of heraldic drawings inscribed “Lewis F. Day Collection” is a bit of a mystery. In the style of the influential and prolific English designer Lewis Foreman Day (1845-1910), the pictures are certainly of some age and they are beautifully and confidently drawn.

Lewis F. Day was an industrial designer with extraordinary range and versatility, as well as being a major writer and critic, authoring several books on design and ornament. His relationships with colleagues William Morris, Walter Crane, W.A.S. Benson and others situated him in the vortex of developments of design in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th century. His mastery of pattern, colour, ornament and superb draughtsmanship resulted in tiles and art pottery, clocks and furniture, wallpapers, textiles, stained glass, and interiors of remarkable diversity and beauty. He was an F.S.A. Decorative artist, Vice-President of the Society of Arts and Master of the Art Workers’ Gild.

A number of these drawings are inscribed “German Calendar”, implying that these were designs to accompany some sort of decorative calendar. In the late 19th century heraldic calendars were produced in Germany, such as those designed by German artist Otto Hupp, which would be illustrated with motifs including arms of the zodiac signs, arms of German states and of important noble families. There is also the possibility that these drawings were related to tile designs: later, in the 20th century, the ceramic tile manufacturer Pilkingtons produced famous Calendar Tiles, which displayed the days and months of the year surrounded by decoration, including designs from heraldry. Lewis F. Day had earlier been contracted to design for Pilkington’s Tile and Pottery Co. in 1899.

All in all, these drawings form an interesting record of heraldic design history.