Eileen Gray, architect, furniture and interior designer: papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Architectural drawings (ca.1910 - 1959); drawings for rugs, carpets and collages (1910 - 1940); correspondence (1913 - 1936); working notes (1914 - 1923); press cuttings (1917 - 1924); glass negatives of completed buildings, interiors, carpets and furniture (1919 - 1937); furniture drawings (1920 - 1975); Galerie Jean Désert client register (ca.1922 - 1930); exhibition notices, trade cards and trade catalogues (1922 - 1933); Galerie Jean Désert cash book (1925); bills from Pierre Bobot, lacquerist, Paris (1971 - 1974).

Administrative / Biographical History

Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray (1878 - 1976) was born in County Wexford, Ireland. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1898 to 1902 and developed an interest in lacquerwork, which she also studied from 1900 to 1902 at the workshops of D. Charles in Soho, London. She moved to Paris to study drawing at the Académies Colarossi and Julian from 1902 to 1905. From 1907 to 1914 she studied furniture making and lacquerwork with Sugawara, becoming a proprietor of a lacquerwork and furniture workshop with Sugawara in London from 1915 to 1917 and in Paris from 1917 to 1922. After the First World War she became interested in interior decoration and from 1919 to 1922 designed an apartment for Suzanne Talbot. In 1922 she opened the Galerie Jean Désert in which she sold her lacquerwork and carpet designs. From 1926 to 1929 she designed a house at Roquebrune (known as E-1027) in collaboration with the Romanian architect Jean Badovici. By 1929 she had lost interest in the Galerie Jean Désert and closed it, considering herself first and foremost an architect. In the 1920s and continuing into the 1930s she was responsible for many architectural projects and furniture designs using materials such as aluminium, chromed metal and mirror glass. She became an Honorary Royal Designer for Industry in 1972 and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Irish Architects in 1973. She died in Paris on 30 October 1976.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Given by Prunella Clough (via Prints, Drawings and Paintings Department, V&A, 1979), 1980

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Corporate Names