Timorous Beasties



The Timorous Beasties are Alistair McCauly and Paul Simmons, textile design graduates from Glasgow University. They formed their company in 1990, and have since become a beloved Scottish icon.

They make a very strong link to their floral and nature-based imagery:

“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” (Timorous Beasties, 2020 a).

Making links to my drawings and generating ideas for approaching work.

Their work is a much like one of their sumptuous wallpapers: overflowing with detail and whimsy. Their cutting edge designs are re-imagined classics, like damask, with antique scrolls replaced with paint splatters, and London and New York urban scenes on toile.

They pay homage to traditional full-bloom floral designs, yet populate them with an elegant menagerie of critters and exquisite detail. Some examples (click for a larger image):

Fruit Looters
(wallpaper, duckegg)

Opera Botanica
(digitally printed fabric)

Topical Tropical
(digitally printed fabric)

I found fascinating the Timorous Beasties’ amazing range “that echoes a golden age of copperplate engraving’ (2020 a).


Grand Thistle
(wallpaper, gold/purple on cream)

Timorous Beasties (2020 a) About,
Viewed: https://www.timorousbeasties.com/about, 25 June 2020

Timorous Beasties (2020 b). ‘Fruit Looters’ in Wallpaper,
Viewed: https://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/wallcoverings/1873/fruit-looters-wallpaper/, 25 June 2020

Timorous Beasties (2020 c). ‘Grand Thistle’ in Wallpaper,
Viewed: https://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/wallcoverings/2061/grand-thistle-wallpaper/, 25 June 2020

Timorous Beasties (2020 d). ‘Opera Botanica’ in Fabric,
Viewed: https://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/fabric/1748/opera-botanica-fabric/, 25 June 2020

Timorous Beasties (2020 e). ‘Thistle fabric’ in Fabric,
Viewed: https://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/fabric/1923/thistle-fabric/, 25 June 2020

Timorous Beasties (2020 f). ‘Topical Tropical fabric’ in Fabric,
Viewed: https://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/fabric/1882/topical-tropical-fabric/, 25 June 2020