Lucienne Day Tea Towel

Lucienne Day tea towel

I have a tea towel obsession. Yes, you read that correctly I did say a tea towel obsession. However, obsession may be a tad strong – let’s just say I have a thing about tea towels. I am not fascinated with the use of these small rectangular pieces of cloth, as I abhor drying dishes and I would sooner do without most of the other labour-saving devices in my kitchen ahead of that splendid washer and dryer-upper that is the modern-day dishwashing machine.

Lucienne Day tea towel

The appeal is rather with the way these humdrum utilitarian items, if they are beautifully designed, can enliven a kitchen. Such is the allure of certain tea towels that I have in the past returned home from Paris with a new set of tea towel instead of some fashion fripperies. The most recent addition to my tea towel collection is a reissue, by Twenty Twenty One, of one designed way back in 1954 by Lucienne Day. I bought it when I visited the Markers & Brothers pop-up shop recently. I love incidentally the way the brothers packaged my purchase in a simple but chic manner with brown paper and twine.

Makers & Brothers packing

I confess that before buying this tea towel I knew very little about Lucienne Day other than that she was one half of the design duo Robin and Lucienne Day. She was only one half in the sense that they were husband and wife as they were not design collaborators; they worked separately – she was a textile designer and he was a furniture designer.

Lucienne Day tea towel

Lucienne, who was born in Surrey in 1917 and died in 2010, was the child of an English mother and a Belgian father. She studied at Croydon School of Art and afterwards at the Royal College of Art where she met her future husband Robin. She first came to public attention when what was to come her most famous design ‘Calyx’ hung in a diningroom designed by Robin Day in the Homes and Garden Pavillion at the 1951 Festival of Britain. She went to become the foremost British textile designer of her generation. She was a prolific designer whose inspiration came from nature and European abstract art. There are many images of her work on the Victoria and Albert Museum website click here if you would like to view them.

I love my new tea towel which glories in the name ‘Too Many Cooks’. There is only one thing that’s a touch tiresome – it looks too good to use. So it now seems that my it’s-for-best-only syndrome extends to tea towels. Help!


Filed under Designers, Interiors

14 responses to “Lucienne Day Tea Towel

  1. I collect tea towels too. I am reluctant to use some of them because I don’t want to ruin them. I put my favourite ones away when I go away, because I know my husband won’t look after them properly, and is just as likely to wipe up a filthy spill with a tea towel.

    • I am very glad to hear that I am not the only one who collects tea towels. And I identify with not wanting to use some of them as it may be some time before I use the one I just bought. It sounds like a wise decision to put your favourite ones away when you are away. Better safe that sorry!

  2. They are charming tea towels. It would be hard to use them for anything other than decoration. 🙂

  3. I agree that you can never actually use it as a tea towel! You’ll have to display it and keep it fresh and crisp… It’s really lovely 🙂

  4. I can see why you made the purchase, such beautiful and simple designs. Her name is vaguely familar, but only vaguely.

    • Yes, I love my tea towel. I first heard of Lucienne Day when I was looking years ago for a sofa and saw one designed by Robin Day on sale in Habitat. The sofa wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but because it was so beautifully designed I googled his name to find out more about him; his wife Lucienne was mentioned in most of the articles about him. But until I bought the tea towel recently I have never seen any actual examples of her work. Thanks for your comment.

  5. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    You’d love some of the crazy Australian teatowels I’m sure, then – Aussie icons….

    It’s a harmless obsession, and this one is actually lovely.

    • I think I might like some of the crazy Australian tea towels – one day I hope to get to Australia. And yes as obsessions go – this one is totally harmless. Thank you very much for your comment.

  6. Oh so charming…I wouldn’t want to use it either.

  7. Love Love Love!! Delightful things! I couldn’t use them though, I see them as wall hangings 🙂

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