Pre-Raphaelite, Red House
The 'other' Faulkner
The three Faulkner siblings, Lucy, Charlie and Kate were instrumental contributors to the founding of Morris, Marshal, Faulkner and co. During the early years of production Lucy and Kate both worked on embroideries for Red House and the firm. Lucy moving on to specialise in producing art for the companies painted tiles. Although many of the tiles feature Lucy’s initials LJF Lucy’s work had often been attributed to her sister Kate.
Fairy tale illustrator
Lucy took over the running of the “tile branch” of the Firm from William Morris, becoming one of the company’s first official managers. The best surviving examples of Lucy’s work are a series of tiles depicting scenes from Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty, painted originally for the bedrooms at The Hill, Witley, Surrey. Lucy’s talents also extended to wood engraving. She produced the woodblocks for Christina Rossetti’s poem Goblin Market. She is also known to have cut at least one of the wood blocks for Morris’s Earthly Paradise in ca 1865
A Change of name
The reason for the aforementioned attributing of Lucy’s work to her sister’s name is likely, due to the later success of her work in the ‘Art at Home Series’ where she wrote under her married name Orrinsmith, the name Faulkner becoming solely linked to her siblings for a period. The William Morris Gallery holds a large collection of Lucy’s correspondence from 1861 to 1905, the study of these letters have been instrumental in beginning to untangle Kate and Lucy’s work. Her outputs continued in the 1880’s after her marriage and subsequent name change.
In 1862 Georgiana Burne-Jones wrote that the Faulkner sisters that they both shared their brother’s “skill of hand.” On the death of their father in in the early 1860s the Faulkner family moved to Queen’s Square, where the Morris’s later becoming their neighbours but their long standing friendship had begun when older brother Charlie met William Morris & Edward Burne-Jones at Oxford. A Mathematician Charlie acted as book keeper for the Firm up until 1864 where his two siblings although starting as amateurs earned money for their artistic productions. Kate’s most famous piece of work is the decoration of the grand piano designed by Edward Burne-Jones now on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Lucy’s contribution to the ‘Art at Home Series’, ‘The Drawing Room’ is mentioned in almost every study on late-nineteenth-century domestic interior.