Sue Timney and the Design of Timney-Fowler
By Sue Timney
Foreword by Sir Paul Smith
Design / Style
October / November 2010
176 Pages / Over 200 Illustrations
A pair of Victorian hand-decorated urns, left, stand proudly in front of a Timney-Fowler fabric design that was based on a collage of classical images, from medieval frescoes to Robert Adam plasterwork. At her home in Chiswick, right, Sue’s vessels range from large-scale eighteenth-century ceramics to contemporary Japanese flower-arranging vases and junk-shop finds.
In their shops, Timney-Fowler never shied away from presenting multiple patterns together, left. At home, Sue uses China she designed from 1984 to the present, from early hand-painted plates to limited-edition transfer printed dishes and mass-produced tea and coffee sets, right.
A mannequin, left, draped in the Statues and Urns home furnishings fabric, boldly contrasts with the striped back of the Timney-Fowler King’s Road shop in the 1990s. The drawing room of the Clock House in 2010, right, has a modernist, Op Art slant, enhancing the shapes of the white-on-white collection of ceramics.
A display of Linda McCartney for Timney-Fowler scarves in the shop on the King’s Road, above left, dates from the late 1990s. Below left, Grahame and Sue were photographed in their Portobello Road shop in 1983, and in 1997, Sue, with her daughter and youngest son, posed in the King’s Road shop, right.
An advertisement for the Joseph fashion shops, right, included some of Timney-Fowler’s fabric designs. A couple of designs, right, range in date from the 1980s to the 1990s.
Cut and Paste: “Although [a scrapbook] is made up of free-associating, oddly, and this is true of much of my work, it applies a control and a discipline to images that might otherwise be random,” says Sue.
In the 1990s, Go Silk continued to use Timney-Fowler patterns for its printed shirts and scarves. The company commissioned collections that represented the full range of the Timney-Fowler iconography: classical borders, animal prints, Adam-style architectural details, and stylized florals – all overlaid in the most vivid color palettes.
Sue treated the two identical fireplaces in the bedrooms in the Primrose Hill house in contrasting ways. Although the surrounds are cast iron, the decorative details are light, floral, and art nouveau inspired.
The Persian rugs and Arts and Crafts chairs in the dining room in Primrose Hill continue the Luytens-inspired, colonial feel of the house.
Sue’s intention for the master bedroom was to create a subtle relationship of absorbent colors, tones, and textures. The wall color gives a soft dirty-pink backdrop to the wood and fabrics in the space. The sensibility is very Japanese translated into a western context.
The library at the Clock House in 2010 has a very warm, masculine feel that Sue created with the use of wood, leather-bound books, shields, and striped furnishings. The colonial stripes and the shield give a clubby, regimental feel while the salvaged wood table by British furniture maker Ray McNeill brings a weight and authority to the room.
Heraldic shields line the front hall of the Clock House, left, where they introduce the eclectic meeting of styles that is one of the hallmarks of a Timney interior. The 1987 screen-printed zodiac poster calendar, right, sets out star signs as if they were crests on armorial bearings.
Sue’s client in Primrose Hill had a collection of African neck rests. “I put them together in this group,” Sue says. “I love groups of objects. One is never enough for me.”
Pointed Leaf Press is proud to announce the fall 2010 publication of Making Marks, a book that chronicles the life and career of Sue Timney, one of England’s most astounding artists and designers. To say that Timney’s work is eclectic is as obvious as calling the sky blue: eclecticism is her signature. If Timney’s style is hard to pin down, perhaps it is her peripatetic childhood that has given her a truly global vision. Born in Libya, her father’s military career also took her to Germany and Newcastle, England and she cites influences and interests as diverse as the Japanese filmmaker Kurosawa, the beatniks, and Elvis. In addition to 25 years worth of captivating photographs and some never before published drawings, textile designs, and personal artworks, Making Marks is a journey through a fascinating life — from an adventurous childhood and a career launched in Japan, to the opening of the first Timney-Fowler shop in London’s hip Portobello area and her successful career as an interior designer and taste-maker. An exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London is planned for November 2010.