An important figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, Day's early design work was in glass painting and design. Having built up experience working for three different companies from 1865 to 1870 he established his own stained glass business in London. Within a short time he developed a reputation for surface pattern in a range of media including wallpapers for W. B. Simpson & Co., textiles for Turnbull & Stockdale, and tile designs for both Maws and Pilkingtons. He was an active member of the Art Workers' Guild and a founder member of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, as well as a stalwart member of the Council of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) for much of the period between 1877 and his death in 1910. His 1886 series of Cantor Lectures on ‘Ornamental Design’ for the RSA sparked off a number of influential publications, including the Anatomy of Pattern (1887), The Planning of Ornament (1887), Pattern Design (1903), Ornament and its Application (1904), and Nature and Ornament (1908–9). Day also played a significant role in the education sector, serving as an examiner for the Department of Science and Art and later the Board of Education as well as lecturing at the Royal College of Art. He was a prolific writer for a wide range of journals, including the Magazine of Art, the Art Journal, and the Journal of Decorative Art. In addition to other more substantial publications such as Windows (1897) and Stained Glass (1903), he also wrote on Alphabets Old and New (1898) and Lettering in Ornament (1902). His influence was also felt in the arrangement of the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum when it was established in the new building in 1909, having served on the consultative committee.
Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art — Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.