Noted for surreal and provocative textiles and wallpapers, the design studio, Timorous Beasties, was founded in Glasgow in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, who met studying textile design at Glasgow School of Art.
Timorous Beasties’ work embodies a unique diversity of pattern, ranging from design that echoes a golden age of copperplate engraving (a time-honoured classic is the Thistle range; or Merian Palm superwide wallpaper) to example of a distinctly edgy nature, an elegant transgression, a display of chic irreverence. Yet, the studio fully engages a design discourse with textiles history by lending an aesthetic evolution to time-honoured motifs.
In 2004 Timorous Beasties unveiled their critically acclaimed Glasgow Toile: by reversing the pastoral context of toiles de Jouy, they transformed the traditional toile device to create an exclusively modern urban genre. The Hotch Blotch fabric series challenges a 1000-year old aesthetic mode by placing disorder within the structure of damask pattern to reveal the inherent beauty of splatters, drips and blotches. Hunting Toile and Urban wallpapers mark a synthesis of 18th-century chinoiserie groupings, Rococo swirls, and Victorian silhouette paper cuts to create a uniquely contemporary ornamental textiles pattern repeat.
The art critic John Ruskin related a universal connection between nature, art and society. Timorous Beasties share a similar world view, where plants, animals and society are visually inextricable. They are devoted to how that impacts as pattern design in our daily experience of furnished spaces, from one-bedroom flats to country villas, to the halls of civic and government buildings, departure lounge backdrops, boutique enclaves, restaurants, and hotels.