George Walton Biography

George Walton's Early Career and First Commissions

George Walton, leaving his role as a clerk, established himself as a designer and decorator in 1888. His first commission involved decorating a smoking room at 114 Argyle Street, which Miss Cranston had initially opened as a tea room in 1884. By 1896, Walton had made a name for himself in the field of stenciled wallpapers, positioning him as the ideal candidate for furnishing Miss Cranston's new tea rooms on Buchanan Street. During the shop's renovation, Walton designed elaborate decorative features, particularly in the Billiard Room, where he created a cohesive theme of country-style fittings, complete with matching tables and chairs, and striking tapestry-like wall pieces.

Collaboration with Mackintosh and Move to London

In 1897, Walton worked alongside Charles Rennie Mackintosh in the same tea rooms, with Walton focusing on flat surface designs and Mackintosh on furniture and practical products. By this time, Mackintosh was leading furniture design, prompting Walton to move to London in 1898. His inspiration was drawn heavily from Morris & Co and C.F.A. Voysey, reflecting more English than Scottish influences in his designs. In 1898, Walton opened an independent shop in Stonegate, York, and furnished Elm Bank in The Mount.

Expanding Career and Architectural Ventures

Walton's work extended to designing interiors for Rowntree & Sons in Scarborough during 1896-7. The turn of the century saw Walton thriving as a commercial designer, producing work for Liberty & Co and J.S. Henry. His success in London led to the design and construction of his first house, The Leys at Elstree. This ambitious and symmetrical structure was the first of many architectural commissions, including WernFawr at Harlech (1907) and the White House at Shiplake (1908).

Walton's Design Philosophy and Popularity

Walton's principle in design was to tastefully and resourcefully combine conventional ideas of quality with his unique style. This approach defined his popularity and set him apart as a prominent figure in his field.

Researched and written by Tony Geering & Kristy Campbell.

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