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Autobiographical notes by C.F.A. Voysey

A letter accompanying a typescript addendum comprising autobiographical notes written by Voysey is held by the RIBA Archives at reference VoC/1/6(iv).

The letter is written by John Brandon-Jones to an Angela Mace from his office address at 2 Redington Road, London NW3, and is dated 9th February 1979. Brandon-Jones writes that:

"... I enclose two prints from my copy of Voysey's Autobiography. This was typed from the original MS. in his own hand which was lent to me by Mr. Cowles-Voysey, it gives an account of Voysey's ancestry and a list of principal clients. ..."

A transcript of the document referred to in the Brandon-Jones letter follows:

Charles Francis Annesley Voysey, eldest son of the late Rev. Charles Voysey, M.A.Oxon, Clerk in Holy Orders, late Vicar of Healaugh in the Diocese of York and founder of the Theistic Church, and his cousin Frances Maria Edlin.

"Educated" at Dulwich College and by private tutor, articled for five years to J.P. Seddon, F.R.I.B.A., and served in the office of George Devey.

Author of "Reason as a basis of art" and "Individuality", and lectures for Carpenters Company & many Artistic Societies. Examiner of Technical Education Schools for the Board of Education.

Master for 1924 of the Art Workers Guild. For many years Member of the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society, Vice President of Home Arts & Industries Society & Kyrle Society and for some years on Council of Imperial Arts League.

Has built over 117 private houses in England, Ireland, Wales, Austria, America & Egypt.

The name of Voysey has frequently been used by journalists and Estate Agents advertising "Voysey houses".

Has had One Man Shows in Holland and America got up and paid for by those countries without the faintest suggestion or request from him. Has exhibited many times both in the Scuplture Room and Architectural Room of the Royal Academy.

Fifty-three clients have commissioned him more than once. Among those for whom he has worked professionally are Lord Lovelace, Lady Henry Somerset, Lady Temple, Lord Ellesmere, Lord Beauchamp, Lord Reading, Sir Hy. Roscoe, Sir Geo. Frampton, R.A., Sir Geo. Toulmin, M.P., Sir A. Methuen, Bart., Sir Michael Lakin, Bart., Sir Frank Mirrielees, K.C.M.G., Sir George Goodhart, M.P., Sir Alfred East, R.A., Sir C.S. Lock, Rt. Hon. J.W. Wilson, P.C., M.P., Viscountess Gladstone, Canon Grane, Archdeacon Row, H.G. Wells, Alfred Sutro, Sir C.C. Macrae, E.J. Horniman, M.P., Onslow Ford, R.A., and Sir Herbert Cook.

By request of the authorities of the Victoria & Albert a large collection of original designs are deposited in the Museum and by request a collection of Book-plates, of which he has designed 78, are in the British Museum.

Mr. Voysey has designed furniture of every kind required for a house and for many years was retained by the manufacturers of Carpets, Curtains, Cretennes and Wallpapers, who undertook to accept and pay for a given number of his designs per annum without option. An arrangement very seldom enjoyed by designers.

C.F.A. Voysey's great great grandmother was John Wesley's sister. (From which family he gratefully acknowledges what little moral courage & independent spirit he happily inherits. This independence has crushed out the love of limelight and thirst for worldly gain or social advancement. Pioneer work & poverty are more attractive to his nature.)

Born May 28th 1857 at Kingston College, Hessle, nr. Hull.
Married July 30th 1885, Mary Maria Evans by whom he has had three sons and two daughters, the survivors being:
The second son born June 24th 1889, Charles Cowles-Voysey.
The third son born Decr. 29 1893, Annesley Voysey, and
the only surviving daughter born October 5, 1895, Priscilla Mary Annesley Voysey.

My Father's father was Annesley Voysey, he was born and lived for some time in the King's House, Salisbury Close. He was an architect who built Churches, Lighthouses etc and died in Jamaica. His father was Henry Voysey, M.D., (?1829) who married the heiress Miss Ellison who was the daughter of Richard Ellison whose mother was Susanna Wesley - John Wesley's sister. Her mother was Miss Susanna Annesley, great grand daughter of Viscount Valentia 1st Earl of Anglesea. John Wesley's sister was consequently my father's great great Grandmother. C.F.A.V.


Brandon-Jones also adds some additional information "from notes on odd scraps of paper":

"Articled for 5 years on May 11th 1874 to the late John Pollard Seddon, F.R.I.B.A.   G. Devey 1880-1881.
Started in practice 1881.
Went to Dulwich College at the age of 13 in 1870 or 1869."

See also more information about the architect Annesley Voysey, and more information on the Wesley connection.

Page last amended 26th February 2017