CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

C. F. A. Voysey: The Retrospective Career of the “Pioneer of the Modern Movement"

Laura Dean

Division: Humanities

Dept/Program: Art History

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Theodore Van Loan

Date of this Version: 01 June 2010



The research focus for this paper was the historiography of Charles Francis Annesley Voysey’s architectural career. More specifically, the focus was on the appreciation of his work and why it did or did not change over time. Once the appreciation of Voysey’s work was addressed, the focus became more specific: What was the nature of the shift in opinion of his work, and what internal or external factors caused this shift? To find answers to these questions, I read the books and articles in the paper’s bibliography. In addition, I used the context of the course material of Art History 282 to shape and guide the focal argument of the paper. This allowed me to get a broader picture of the shifting field of architecture during and shortly after Voysey’s fleeting popularity in the early 1900s.

Through use of these methods, I found that Voysey’s career in the late 1800s and early 1900s reflects a transitional period in the field of architecture. The Arts and Crafts Movement was losing favor to the emergence of the Modern Movement and the acceptance of machine technology in building methods. Voysey’s simple country houses reflect this subtle shift, as many later critics observe.

I conclude through this research assignment my position on retrospective analysis. An architect who designs a building makes a statement that can be interpreted differently by every ensuing generation. In retrospect, Voysey provides influence for countless architects and sets the tone for the Modern Movement. While Voysey himself scoffed at the idea of being named the “pioneer of the Modern Movement,” his intentions are irrelevant to the magnitude of his influence. His economy of design, lack of ornament, and emphasis of geometry all precede the ideas and practices of modern architecture.


Architectural History and Criticism | Arts and Humanities

Suggested Citation

Dean, Laura, "C. F. A. Voysey: The Retrospective Career of the “Pioneer of the Modern Movement"" 01 June 2010. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 02 June 2010




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