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Interior of Standen, a house in Sussex designed by Philip Webb in 1891. It was inspired by local buildings and used local materials. Many of the furnishings are by Morris & Co.[1]

The Arts and Crafts Movement was a British, Canadian, Australian and American design movement that flourished between 1880 and 1910. It was instigated by the artist and writer William Morris in the 1860s and was inspired by the writings of John Ruskin. It influenced architecture, domestic design and the decorative arts, using simple forms and a medieval style of decoration. It advocated truth to materials, traditional craftsmanship and economic reform.

Contents

Design principles

"Artichoke" wallpaper, by John Henry Dearle for William Morris & Co., circa 1897 (Victoria and Albert Museum).

The Arts and Crafts Movement began primarily as a search for authentic and meaningful styles for the 19th century and as a reaction against the eclectic revival of historic styles of the Victorian era and the "soulless" machine-production of the Industrial Revolution. This process of reform had been initiated by the Schools Of Design from 1852, and its principles set out in a series of propositions by the outstanding ornamentist Owen Jones in his Grammar of Ornament, a copy of which William Morris owned. Its later practitioners, were more influenced by Ruskin, who was not a designer, but merely a critic. Although like the reformers like Owen Jones he advocated the equality of all the arts, he stressed the importance and pleasure of work; considering the machine to be the root of many social ills. This led some to turn entirely towards handcraft, which made their products expensive and affordable only by the rich.

The appearance of Arts and Crafts objects resulted from the principles involved in their making. One of their hallmarks was simplicity of form, without superfluous decoration, often exposing their construction. Another was truth to material, preserving and emphasizing the qualities of the materials used. Arts and Crafts designers often used patterns inspired by British flora and fauna and drew on the vernacular, or domestic, traditions of the British countryside. Many set up workshops in rural areas and revived old techniques. They were influenced by the Gothic Revival (1830–1880) and were interested in all things medieval, using bold forms and strong colors based on medieval designs. They also shared a belief in the moral purpose of art, as expounded by John Ruskin, author of The Nature of Gothic. Truth to material, structure and function had also been advocated by A.W.N. Pugin, a leading exponent of the Gothic Revival.[2]

The development of these principles was propelled by a revulsion against the style and methods of the designs shown in the Great Exhibition of 1851, which were ornate, redundant, artificial and ignored the essential qualities of the materials used. The art historian Nikolaus Pevsner has said that exhibits in the Great Exhibition showed "ignorance of that basic need in creating patterns, the integrity of the surface" and "vulgarity in detail".[3] Design reform began with the organisers of the Exhibition itself, Henry Cole (1808–1882), Owen Jones (1809–1874), Matthew Digby Wyatt (1820–1877) and Richard Redgrave (1804–1888). Jones, for example, declared that "Ornament ... must be secondary to the thing decorated", that there must be "fitness in the ornament to the thing ornamented", and that wallpapers and carpets must have no patterns "suggestive of anything but a level or plain". These ideas were taken up by William Morris. Where a fabric or wallpaper in the Great Exhibition might be decorated in a natural motif made to look as real as possible, a William Morris wallpaper, like the Artichoke design illustrated above, would use a flat and simplified natural motif. In order to express the beauty inherent in craft, some products were deliberately left slightly unfinished, resulting in a certain rustic and robust effect. Whereas Cole, Jones and Wyatt had accepted machine production, Morris wedded design criticism to social criticism, made things himself and insisted that the artist should become a craftsman-designer.[3]

By the end of the nineteenth century, Arts and Crafts ideals had affected the design and manufacture of all the decorative arts in Britain.

Social principles

The weaving shed in Morris & Co's factory at Merton, which opened in the 1880s.

The proponents of the Arts and Crafts Movement were against the principle of a division of labor, which in some cases could be independent of industrial machinery. They were in favor of the master craftsman, who created all the parts of an item and assembled and finished it, with help from apprentices. This contrasted with the French Manufactories, where everything was oriented towards the fastest production possible. The Arts and Crafts movement sought to have the maker work with his hands at every step of creation. Some, such as Morris, were more than willing to design products for machine production if it did not involve the division of labor or the loss of craft talent. Morris designed numerous carpets for machine production in series.

The decline of rural handicrafts, corresponding to the rise of industrialized society, was a cause for concern for many designers and social reformers, who feared the loss of traditional skills and creativity. For Ruskin, a healthy society depended on skilled and creative workers. Morris and other socialist designers, such as Walter Crane and C.R.Ashbee, looked forward to a future society of free craftspeople, which Morris believed had existed in the Middle Ages. "Because craftsmen took pleasure in their work", he wrote, "the Middle Ages was a period of greatness in the art of the common people. ... The treasures in our museums now are only the common utensils used in households of that age, when hundreds of medieval churches - each one a masterpiece - were built by unsophisticated peasants."[4]

Yet, while the Arts and Crafts Movement was in large part a reaction to industrialization, if looked at on the whole, it was neither anti-industrial nor anti-modern. Some of the European factions believed that machines were in fact necessary, but they should only be used to relieve the tedium of mundane, repetitive tasks. At the same time, some Arts and Crafts leaders felt that objects should also be affordable. The conflict between quality production and 'demo' design, and the attempt to reconcile the two, dominated design debate at the turn of the twentieth century.

There was debate in the Movement as to whether the machine should be rejected or not. Those who sought a compromise between the efficiency of the machine and the skill of the craftsman tried to find a way in which the craftsman might master the machine rather than becoming its slave. Morris was not entirely consistent. He regarded production by machinery as "altogether an evil",[3] but where he could find manufacturers willing to work to his own exacting standards, he would get them to make his designs.[5] In his socialist writings, he said that, in a "true society", where neither luxuries nor cheap trash were made, machinery could be improved and used to reduce the hours of labour.[6] Ashbee, after twenty years of pitting his Guild and School of Handicraft guild against modern methods of manufacture, acknowledged that "Modern civilization rest on machinery."[3] This conflict was exemplified in the German Arts and Crafts movement, by the clash between two leading figures of the Deutscher Werkbund (DWB), Hermann Muthesius and Henry Van de Velde. Muthesius, who was head of design education for the German Government, was a champion of standardization. He believed in mass production, in affordable democratic art. Van de Velde, on the other hand, saw mass production as threat to creativity and individuality.

The movement was associated with socialist ideas in the persons of Morris, Crane and Ashbee.

History of the movement

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Great Britain

William Morris's Red House in London.

William Morris (1834–1896) was the central figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Morris's ideas emerged from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, of which he had been a part, and were influenced by Ruskin's books The Stones of Venice and Unto this Last, which sought to relate the moral and social health of a nation to the qualities of its architecture and designs. Ruskin, of course, was not a designer. In 1861 a company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., was founded by a group of friends which included William Morris and this firm eventually produced decorative objects for the home including wallpaper, textiles, furniture and stained glass, designed and made under the supervision of the partners. In 1890 Morris set up the Kelmscott Press, for which he designed a typeface based on Nicolas Jenson's letter forms of the fifteenth century.[7]

Red House, Bexleyheath, London (1859), designed for Morris by architect Philip Webb, exemplifies the early Arts and Crafts style, with its well-proportioned solid forms, deep porches, steep roof, pointed window arches, brick fireplaces and wooden fittings. Webb rejected the grand classical style, found inspiration in British vernacular architecture and attempted to express the texture of ordinary materials, such as stone and tiles, with an asymmetrical and quaint building composition.[2]

Morris's ideas spread in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, spawning many associations and craft communities, although Morris himself was not involved in them during the mid 1880s because of his preoccupation with spreading socialism. A hundred and thirty Arts and Crafts organizations were formed in Britain, most between 1895 and 1905.[8]

In architecture, the construction of individual houses according to the principles of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the second half of the Nineteenth and early part of the Twentieth centuries gave way to large-scale developments in the same style (such as Bournville in Birmingham, by W. A. Harvey and others) taking the Movement into the 1920's.[9] Indeed architects such as M.H. Baillie Scott "continued the approach well into the inter-war period, by which time some of the features of Arts and Crafts architecture had entered the vocabulary of the mainstream house-builder."[9]

The first page of The Nature of Gothic by John Ruskin, printed by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press in 1892 and set in the Golden type, inspired by the 15th century printer Nicolas Jenson

In 1881, Eglantyne Louisa Jebb, Mary Fraser Tytler and others set up the Home Arts and Industries Association to promote and protect rural handicrafts. In 1882, the architect A.H.Mackmurdo formed the Century Guild, a partnership of designers including Selwyn Image, Herbert Horne, Clement Heaton and Benjamin Creswick.[8] In 1884, the Art Workers Guild was formed by five young architects, William Lethaby, Edward Prior, Ernest Newton, Mervyn Macartney and Gerald C. Horsley, with the aim of integrating design and making. It was and originally led by George Blackall Simonds. By 1890 the Guild had 150 members, reflecting the growing number of practitioners of the Arts and Crafts.[8] It still exists.

In 1887 the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, was formed with Walter Crane as president, holding its first exhibition in the New Gallery, London in November 1888.[10] It was the first show of contemporary decorative arts in London since the Grosvenor Gallery's Winter Exhibition of 1881.[11] Morris & Co. were well represented in the exhibition with furniture, fabrics, carpets and embroideries. Edward Burne-Jones observed, "here for the first time one can measure a bit the change that has happened in the last twenty years".[8] The Society still exists as the Society of Designer Craftsmen.

In 1888, C.R.Ashbee (1863–1942), a major figure in the later years of the Arts and Crafts Movement in England, set up the Guild and School of Handicraft in the East End of London. The Guild was a sort of craft co-operative modelled on the medieval guilds and intended to give working men the satisfactions of craftsmanship. Skilled craftsmen, working on the principles of Ruskin and Morris, were to produce hand-crafted goods and run a school for young apprentices. The idea was greeted with enthusiasm by almost everyone except Morris himself, who was by now involved in promoting socialism and thought Ashbee's scheme trivial. From 1888 to 1902 it prospered, employing about fifty men. In 1902 Ashbee moved the Guild out of London to found an experimental community in Chipping Camden in the Cotswolds. The Guild's work is characterized by plain surfaces of hammered silver, flowing wirework and colored stones in simple settings. Ashbee designed jewellery and silver tableware. At Chipping Camden it flourished creatively, but did not prosper and went into liquidation in 1908. Some of the craftsmen stayed, contributing to the tradition of modern craftsmanship in the area.[2][12][13]

Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857–1941) was an Arts and Crafts architect, also designing fabrics, tiles, ceramics, furniture and metalwork. His style combined simplicity with sophistication. His wallpapers and textiles, featuring stylised bird and plant forms in bold outlines with flat colors, were widely used.[2] Curiously, he was not a craftsman in any of the materials for which he designed.

Morris's ideas were taken up by the New Education movement in the late 1880s, which incorporated handicraft work in schools such as Abbotsholme (1889) and Bedales (1892), and his influence has been seen in the social experiments of Dartington Hall in the mid twentieth century and in the formation of the Crafts Council in 1973.[8]

Morris's company, Morris & Co., traded until 1940. Its designs were bought out by Sanderson and Co. and some are still in production.[14]

United States

The Oregon Public Library in Oregon, Illinois, U.S. by Pond and Pond, an example of Arts and Crafts building in a Carnegie Library.

In the United States, the Arts and Crafts Movement took on a distinctively more bourgeois flavor than in Europe. While the Europeans tried to recreate the virtuous world of craft labor that was being destroyed by industrialization, the Americans tried to establish a new source of virtue to replace heroic craft production: the tasteful middle-class home. They thought that the simple but refined aesthetics of Arts and Crafts decorative arts would ennoble the new experience of industrial consumerism, making individuals more rational and society more harmonious. In short, the American Arts and Crafts Movement was the aesthetic counterpart of its contemporary political movement:Progressivism.

In the United States, the Arts and Crafts Movement spawned a wide variety of attempts to reinterpret European Arts and Crafts ideals for Americans. These included the "Craftsman"-style architecture, furniture, and other decorative arts such as the designs promoted by Gustav Stickley in his magazine, The Craftsman. A host of imitators of Stickley's furniture (the designs of which are often mislabelled the "Mission Style") included three companies formed by his brothers, the Roycroft community founded by Elbert Hubbard, the "Prairie School" of Frank Lloyd Wright, George Washington Maher and other architects in Chicago, the Country Day School movement, the bungalow style of houses popularized by Greene and Greene, Joeseph Marbella utopian communities like Byrdcliffe and Rose Valley, developments such as Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, featuring clusters of bungalow and chateau homes built by Herbert J. Hapgood, and the contemporary studio craft movement. Studio pottery — exemplified by Grueby, Newcomb, Marblehead Pottery, Teco pottery, Overbeck and Rookwood pottery, Bernard Leach in Britain, and Mary Chase Perry Stratton's Pewabic Pottery in Detroit — as well as the art tiles by Ernest A. Batchelder in Pasadena, California, and idiosyncratic furniture of Charles Rohlfs also demonstrate the clear influence of Arts and Crafts Movement. Mission, Prairie, and the 'California bungalow' styles of homebuilding remain popular in the United States today.

In America in the late 1890s, a group of Boston's most influential architects, designers, and educators, determined to bring to America the design reforms begun in Britain by William Morris, met to organize an exhibition of contemporary craft objects. The first meeting was held on January 4, 1897, at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) to organize an exhibition of contemporary crafts. When craftsmen, consumers, and manufacturers realized the aesthetic and technical potential of the applied arts, the process of design reform in Boston started. Present at this meeting were General Charles Loring, Chairman of the Trustees of the MFA; William Sturgis Bigelow and Denman Ross, collectors, writers and MFA trustees; Ross Turner, painter; Sylvester Baxter, art critic for the Boston Transcript; Howard Baker, A.W. Longfellow Jr.; and Ralph Clipson Sturgis, architect.

The first American Arts and Crafts Exhibition opened on April 5, 1897, at Copley Hall featuring over 1000 objects made by 160 craftsmen, half of whom were women. Some of the supporters for the exhibit were Langford Warren, founder of Harvard's School of Architecture; Mrs. Richard Morris Hunt; Arthur Astor Carey and Edwin Mead, social reformers; and Will Bradley, graphic designer.

The huge success of this exhibition led to the incorporation of The Society of Arts and Crafts, on June 28, 1897, with a mandate to "develop and encourage higher standards in the handicrafts." The 21 founders were interested in more than sales, and focused on the relationship of designers within the commercial world, encouraging artists to produce work with the highest quality of workmanship and design.

This mandate was soon expanded into a credo, possibly written by the SAC's first president, Charles Eliot Norton, which read:

This Society was incorporated for the purpose of promoting artistic work in all branches of handicraft. It hopes to bring Designers and Workmen into mutually helpful relations, and to encourage workmen to execute designs of their own. It endeavors to stimulate in workmen an appreciation of the dignity and value of good design; to counteract the popular impatience of Law and Form, and the desire for over-ornamentation and specious originality. It will insist upon the necessity of sobriety and restraint, or ordered arrangement, of due regard for the relation between the form of an object and its use, and of harmony and fitness in the decoration put upon it.

In the United States, the terms American Craftsman, or Craftsman style are often used to denote the style of architecture, interior design, and decorative arts that prevailed between the dominant eras of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, or roughly the period from 1910 to 1925. In Canada, the term Arts and Crafts predominates, but the term Craftsman is also recognized.

Influences on later design

Widely exhibited in Europe, the Arts and Crafts movement's qualities of simplicity and honest use of materials negating historicism inspired designers like Henry van de Velde and movements such as Art Nouveau, the Dutch De Stijl group, Vienna Secession, and eventually the Bauhaus. The movement can be assessed as a prelude to Modernism, where pure forms, stripped of historical associations, would be once again applied to industrial production.[3]

The Irish Arts and Crafts movement is represented by the Honan Chapel (1916) in Cork in the grounds of University College Cork.

In Russia, Viktor Hartmann, Viktor Vasnetsov and other artists associated with Abramtsevo Colony sought to revive the spirit and quality of medieval Russian decorative arts in the movement quite independent from that flourishing in Great Britain.

The Wiener Werkstätte, founded in 1903 by Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser, played an independent role in the development of Modernism, with its Wiener Werkstätte Style.

In Japan, Soetsu Yanagi, creator of the Mingei movement promoting folk art in the 1920s, shared the contemporary Japanese interest in Morris and Ruskin and was influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement.[4]

The British Utility furniture of the 1940s was simple in design and based on Arts and Crafts models. Gordon Russell, chairman of the Utility Furniture Design Panel, manufactured in the Coltswolds, which had become a center of Arts and Crafts furniture when Ashbee moved there.

Arts and Crafts buildings in Australia and New Zealand

Examples

Leading practitioners

Notes

  1. ^ Roger Dixon and Stephan Mathesius, Victorian Architecture, London: Thames and Hudson, 1978 ISBN 0-500-18163-2
  2. ^ a b c d Victoria and Albert Museum
  3. ^ a b c d e Nikolaus Pevsner, Pioneers of Modern Design, Yale University Press, 2005, ISBN 0 300 10571 1
  4. ^ a b Elisabeth Frolet, Nick Pearce, Soetsu Yanagi and Sori Yanagi, Mingei: The Living Tradition in Japanese Arts, Japan Folk Crafts Museum/Glasgow Museums, Japan: Kodashani International, 1991
  5. ^ Graeme Shankland, "William Morris - Designer", in Asa Briggs (ed.) William Morris: Selected Writings and Designs, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1980 ISBN 0-14-02-0521-7
  6. ^ William Morris, "Useful Work versus Useless Toil", in Asa Briggs (ed.) William Morris: Selected Writings and Designs, Harmondsworth: Pengin, 1980 ISBN 0-14-02-0521-7
  7. ^ John Lewis and John Brinckley, Graphic Design, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954
  8. ^ a b c d e Fiona McCarthy, William Morris, London: Faber and Faber, 1995 ISBN 0-571-17495-7
  9. ^ a b Heritage Protection Department, “The Modern House and Housing Selection Guide: Domestic Buildings (4)” (English Heritage, March 2007), http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/upload/pdf/Domestic_4_Modern_House_and_Housing.pdf.
  10. ^ Parry, Linda, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement: A Sourcebook, New York, Portland House, 1989 ISBN 0-517-69260-0
  11. ^ Crane, Walter, "Of the Arts and Crafts Movement", in Ideals In Art: Papers Theoretical Practical Critical, George Bell & Sons, 1905
  12. ^ Utopia Britannica
  13. ^ Court Barn Museum
  14. ^ Sanderson Fabrics

References

  • Boris, Eileen. Art and Labor, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986 ISBN 0-87722-384-X
  • Cathers, David M. Furniture of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. The New American Library, Inc., 1981. ISBN 0-453-00397-4
  • Cumming, Elizabeth, and Kaplan, Wendy, Arts & Crafts Movement, London: Thames & Hudson, 1991 ISBN 0-500-20248-6
  • Cumming, Elizabeth, Hand, Heart and Soul:The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland, 2006, Birlinn ISBN 978-1841584195.
  • Kaplan, Wendy, The Art that is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America 1875-1920. New York: Little Brown and Company, 1987
  • Parry, Linda, Textiles of the Arts and Crafts Movement, London: Thames and Hudson, 2005 ISBN 0-500-28536-5

External links


File:Standen
Interior of Standen, a house in Sussex designed by Philip Webb in 1891. It was inspired by local buildings and used local materials. Many of the furnishings are by Morris & Co.[1]

The Arts and Crafts Movement was an international design movement that originated in England[2] and flourished between 1880 and 1910, continuing its influence up to the 1930s.[3] Instigated by the artist and writer William Morris (1834–1896) in the 1860s[2] and inspired by the writings of John Ruskin (1819–1900), it had its earliest and fullest development in the British Isles[3] but spread to Europe and America[4] as a reaction against the impoverished state of the decorative arts and the conditions under which they were produced.[5]

The movement advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. It also proposed economic and social reform and has been seen as essentially anti-industrial.[5][6]

Contents

History of the movement

British Isles

File:The Red House,
William Morris's Red House in London.

The central figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement was William Morris (1834–1896). His ideas emerged from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, of which he had been a part, and from his reading of Ruskin. In 1861 Morris and his friends founded a company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., which, under the supervision of the partners, designed and made decorative objects for the home, including wallpaper, textiles, furniture and stained glass. Later it was re-formed as Morris & Co. In 1890 Morris set up the Kelmscott Press, for which he designed a typeface based on Nicolas Jenson's letter forms of the fifteenth century.[7] This printed fine and de-luxe editions of contemporary and historical English literature.

Red House, Bexleyheath, London (1859), designed for Morris by architect Philip Webb, exemplifies the early Arts and Crafts style, with its well-proportioned solid forms, deep porches, steep roof, pointed window arches, brick fireplaces and wooden fittings. Webb rejected the grand classical style, found inspiration in British vernacular architecture and attempted to express the texture of ordinary materials, such as stone and tiles, with an asymmetrical and quaint building composition.[8]

Morris's ideas spread in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and gave rise to many associations and craft communities, although Morris himself was not involved in them because of his preoccupation with socialism. A hundred and thirty Arts and Crafts organizations were formed in Britain, most of them between 1895 and 1905.[9]

File:Kelmscott Press - The Nature of Gothic by John Ruskin (first page).jpg
The first page of The Nature of Gothic by John Ruskin, printed by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press in 1892 and set in the Golden type, inspired by the 15th century printer Nicolas Jenson.

In 1881, Eglantyne Louisa Jebb, Mary Fraser Tytler and others set up the Home Arts and Industries Association to promote and protect rural handicrafts. In 1882, the architect A.H.Mackmurdo formed the Century Guild, a partnership of designers including Selwyn Image, Herbert Horne, Clement Heaton and Benjamin Creswick.[9] In 1884, the Art Workers Guild was formed by five young architects, William Lethaby, Edward Prior, Ernest Newton, Mervyn Macartney and Gerald C. Horsley, with the aim of integrating design and making. It was originally led by George Blackall Simonds. By 1890 the Guild had 150 members, reflecting the growing number of practitioners of the Arts and Crafts.[9] It still exists. At the same time the Arts and Craft aesthetic was copied by many designers of decorative products made by conventional industrial methods. The London department store Liberty & Co., founded in 1875, was a prominent retailer of goods in the style.

In 1887 the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society was formed with Walter Crane as president, holding its first exhibition in the New Gallery, London, in November 1888.[10] It was the first show of contemporary decorative arts in London since the Grosvenor Gallery's Winter Exhibition of 1881.[11] Morris & Co. were well represented in the exhibition with furniture, fabrics, carpets and embroideries. Edward Burne-Jones observed, "here for the first time one can measure a bit the change that has happened in the last twenty years".[9] The Society still exists as the Society of Designer Craftsmen.[12]

In 1888, C.R.Ashbee, a major figure in the later years of the Arts and Crafts Movement in England, set up the Guild and School of Handicraft in the East End of London. The Guild was a sort of craft co-operative modelled on the medieval guilds and intended to give working men the satisfactions of craftsmanship. Skilled craftsmen, working on the principles of Ruskin and Morris, were to produce hand-crafted goods and run a school for young apprentices. The idea was greeted with enthusiasm by almost everyone except Morris himself, who was by now involved in promoting socialism and thought Ashbee's scheme trivial. From 1888 to 1902 it prospered, employing about fifty men. In 1902 Ashbee moved the Guild out of London to found an experimental community in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds. The Guild's work is characterized by plain surfaces of hammered silver, flowing wirework and colored stones in simple settings. Ashbee designed jewellery and silver tableware. At Chipping Campden it flourished creatively, but did not prosper and went into liquidation in 1908. Some of the craftsmen stayed, contributing to the tradition of modern craftsmanship in the area.[8][13][14]

Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857–1941) was an Arts and Crafts architect, also designing fabrics, tiles, ceramics, furniture and metalwork. His style combined simplicity with sophistication. His wallpapers and textiles, featuring stylised bird and plant forms in bold outlines with flat colors, were widely used.[8] Curiously, he was not a craftsman in any of the materials for which he designed.

Morris's ideas were taken up by the New Education movement in the late 1880s, which incorporated handicraft work in schools such as Abbotsholme (1889) and Bedales (1892), and his influence has been seen in the social experiments of Dartington Hall in the mid twentieth century and in the formation of the Crafts Council in 1973.[9] It also had an influence on distributism.[15] Morris & Co. traded until 1940. Its designs were bought out by Sanderson and Co. and some are still in production.[16]

in Oregon, Illinois, U.S. by Pond and Pond, an example of Arts and Crafts building in a Carnegie Library.]]

The movement also spread to Ireland, representing a key moment its the nation's cultural development, a visual counterpart to the literary revival of the same time[17] and was a voice of Irish nationalism. It also had a "extraordinary flowering" in Scotland where it was represented by the development of the 'Glasgow Style' focused on the talent of the Glasgow School of Art.[3][18]

United States of America

In the United States, the terms American Craftsman, or Craftsman style are often used to denote the style of architecture, interior design, and decorative arts that prevailed between the dominant eras of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, or roughly the period from 1910 to 1925. In Canada, the term Arts and Crafts predominates, but the term Craftsman is also recognized.[19]

While the Europeans tried to recreate the virtuous world of craft labor that was being destroyed by industrialization, the Americans tried to establish a new source of virtue to replace heroic craft production: the tasteful middle-class home. They thought that the simple but refined aesthetics of Arts and Crafts decorative arts would ennoble the new experience of industrial consumerism, making individuals more rational and society more harmonious. In short, the American Arts and Crafts Movement was the aesthetic counterpart of its contemporary political movement, Progressivism. Characteristically, when in Chicago the Arts and Crafts Society began in October 1897, it was at Hull House, one of the first American settlement houses for social reform.[20]

In the United States, the Arts and Crafts Movement spawned a wide variety of attempts to reinterpret European Arts and Crafts ideals for Americans. These included the "Craftsman"-style architecture, furniture, and other decorative arts such as the designs promoted by Gustav Stickley in his magazine, The Craftsman. A host of imitators of Stickley's furniture (the designs of which are often mislabelled the "Mission Style") included three companies formed by his brothers.

Europe

The earliest activity in continental Europe was in Belgium around 1890 where the English movement inspired artists and architects such as Gustave Serrurier-Bovy, Henry Van de Velde and a group of avant-garde artists called La Libre Esthétique. Following the unification of Germany in 1871, the Arts and Crafts Movement also took on a strong nationalist theme encouraged by the Bund für Heimatschutz (1897) and the Vereinigte Werkstatten für Kunst im Handwerk, founded in 1898 by Karl Schmidt.

In Austria, the movement found a home in Vienna, inspired by an exhibitions of the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Charles Robert Ashbee. Other examples coloured by Folk Art and, again, nationalism arose in central Europe, including the Hungarian area of the Habsburg Empire and in Scandinavia, such as in Finland which was at that time under Russian domination. In Helsinki, an idealistic artists' colony was designed by Gesellis, Lindgren and Saarinen.[3]

Architecture

The "Prairie School" of Frank Lloyd Wright, George Washington Maher and other architects in Chicago, the Country Day School movement, the bungalow and Ultimate bungalow style of houses popularized by Greene and Greene, Julia Morgan, and Bernard Maybeck are some examples of the American Arts and Crafts and American Craftsman Movement in architecture. Restored and landmark protected examples are still present in America, especially in Berkeley and Pasadena, California, and the sections of other towns originally developed in the era and escaping post-war urban renewal.

Applied arts and crafts

Also influential are the Roycroft community founded by Elbert Hubbard, Joseph Marbella, utopian communities like Byrdcliffe Colony in Woodstock, New York, and Rose Valley, Pennsylvania, developments such as Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, featuring clusters of bungalow and chateau homes built by Herbert J. Hapgood, and the contemporary studio craft movement. Studio pottery — exemplified by the Grueby Faience Company, Newcomb Pottery in New Orleans, Marblehead Pottery, Teco pottery, Overbeck and Rookwood pottery and Mary Chase Perry Stratton's Pewabic Pottery in Detroit,as well as the art tiles made by Ernest A. Batchelder in Pasadena, California, and idiosyncratic furniture of Charles Rohlfs all demonstrate the clear influence of Arts and Crafts Movement. Mission Style, Prairie School, and the 'California bungalow' styles of residential building remain popular in the United States today.

Publications and schools

Arts and Crafts ideals disseminated in America through journal and newspaper writing were supplemented by societies that sponsored lectures and programs.[20] The first such was organized in Boston in the late 1890s, when a group of influential architects, designers, and educators determined to bring to America the design reforms begun in Britain by William Morris; they met to organize an exhibition of contemporary craft objects. The first meeting was held on January 4, 1897, at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) to organize an exhibition of contemporary crafts. When craftsmen, consumers, and manufacturers realized the aesthetic and technical potential of the applied arts, the process of design reform in Boston started. Present at this meeting were General Charles Loring, Chairman of the Trustees of the MFA; William Sturgis Bigelow and Denman Ross, collectors, writers and MFA trustees; Ross Turner, painter; Sylvester Baxter, art critic for the Boston Transcript; Howard Baker, A.W. Longfellow Jr.; and Ralph Clipson Sturgis, architect.

The first American Arts and Crafts Exhibition opened on April 5, 1897, at Copley Hall featuring over 1000 objects made by 160 craftsmen, half of whom were women. Some of the supporters for the exhibit were Langford Warren, founder of Harvard's School of Architecture; Mrs. Richard Morris Hunt; Arthur Astor Carey and Edwin Mead, social reformers; and Will Bradley, graphic designer.

The success of this exhibition led to the incorporation of The Society of Arts and Crafts, on June 28, 1897, with a mandate to "develop and encourage higher standards in the handicrafts." The 21 founders were interested in more than sales, and focused on the relationship of designers within the commercial world, encouraging artists to produce work with the highest quality of workmanship and design.

This mandate was soon expanded into a credo, possibly written by the SAC's first president, Charles Eliot Norton, which read:

This Society was incorporated for the purpose of promoting artistic work in all branches of handicraft. It hopes to bring Designers and Workmen into mutually helpful relations, and to encourage workmen to execute designs of their own. It endeavors to stimulate in workmen an appreciation of the dignity and value of good design; to counteract the popular impatience of Law and Form, and the desire for over-ornamentation and specious originality. It will insist upon the necessity of sobriety and restraint, or ordered arrangement, of due regard for the relation between the form of an object and its use, and of harmony and fitness in the decoration put upon it.

Design principles

File:Artichoke wallpaper Morris and Co J H
"Artichoke" wallpaper, by John Henry Dearle for William Morris & Co., circa 1897 (Victoria and Albert Museum).

The Arts and Crafts Movement started as a search for authentic design and decoration and a reaction against the styles that had developed out of machine-production.

Arts and Crafts objects were simple in form, without superfluous decoration, often showing the way they were put together. They followed the idea of "truth to material", preserving and emphasizing the qualities of the materials used. They often had patterns inspired by British flora and fauna and drew on the vernacular, or domestic, traditions of the British countryside. Several designer-makers set up workshops in rural areas and revived old techniques. They were influenced by the Gothic Revival (1830–1880) and were interested in all things medieval, using bold forms and strong colors based on medieval designs. They believed in the moral purpose of art. Truth to material, structure and function had also been advocated by A.W.N. Pugin (1812–1852), a leading exponent of the Gothic Revival.[8]

The Arts and Crafts style was in part a reaction against the style of many of the things shown in the Great Exhibition of 1851, which were ornate, artificial and ignored the qualities of the materials used. The art historian Nikolaus Pevsner has said that exhibits in the Great Exhibition showed "ignorance of that basic need in creating patterns, the integrity of the surface" and "vulgarity in detail".[21] Design reform began with the organisers of the Exhibition itself, Henry Cole (1808–1882), Owen Jones (1809–1874), Matthew Digby Wyatt (1820–1877) and Richard Redgrave (1804–1888). Jones, for example, declared that "Ornament ... must be secondary to the thing decorated", that there must be "fitness in the ornament to the thing ornamented", and that wallpapers and carpets must have no patterns "suggestive of anything but a level or plain". These ideas were taken up by William Morris. Where a fabric or wallpaper in the Great Exhibition might be decorated in a natural motif made to look as real as possible, a William Morris wallpaper, like the Artichoke design illustrated above, would use a flat and simplified natural motif. In order to express the beauty inherent in craft, some products were deliberately left slightly unfinished, resulting in a certain rustic and robust effect.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Arts and Crafts ideals had influenced architecture, painting, sculpture, graphics, illustration, book making and photography, domestic design and the decorative arts, including furniture and woodwork, stained glass, leatherwork, lacemaking, embroidery, rug making and weaving, jewelry and metalwork, enameling and ceramics.[18]

Social principles

File:Morris and Company Weaving at Merton
The weaving shed in Morris & Co's factory at Merton, which opened in the 1880s.

The Arts and Crafts movement was influenced by Ruskin's social criticism, which sought to relate the moral and social health of a nation to the qualities of its architecture and design. Ruskin thought the machine was at the root of many social ills and that a healthy society depended on skilled and creative workers. Like Ruskin, Arts and Crafts artists tended to oppose the division of labor and to prefer craft production, in which the whole item was made and assembled by an individual or small group. They were concerned about the decline of rural handicrafts, which accompanied the rise of industry, and they regretted the loss of traditional skills and creativity.

Whereas Cole, Jones and Wyatt had accepted machine production, Morris wedded design criticism to social criticism, insisting that the artist should be a craftsman-designer.[21] Morris and others, for example, Walter Crane and C.R.Ashbee (1863–1942), looked forward to a society of free craftspeople, which they believed had existed in the Middle Ages. "Because craftsmen took pleasure in their work", Morris wrote, "the Middle Ages was a period of greatness in the art of the common people. ... The treasures in our museums now are only the common utensils used in households of that age, when hundreds of medieval churches - each one a masterpiece - were built by unsophisticated peasants."[22]

There was some disagreement as to whether the machine should be rejected completely and opinions changed. Morris was not entirely consistent. He thought production by machinery was "altogether an evil",[21] but when he could find manufacturers willing to work to his own exacting standards, he would get them to make his designs.[23] He said that, in a "true society", where neither luxuries nor cheap trash were made, machinery could be improved and used to reduce the hours of labour.[24] Ashbee, in some respects, started off even more "medievalist" than Morris.[21] At the time of his Guild of Handicraft, founded in 1888, he said, "We do not reject the machine, we welcome it. But we would desire to see it mastered."[21][25] But after twenty years of pitting his Guild and School of Handicraft guild against modern methods of manufacture, he acknowledged that "Modern civilization rests on machinery."[21] In Germany, Hermann Muthesius and Henry Van de Velde, leading figures in the Deutscher Werkbund (DWB), held opposing views. Muthesius, who was head of design education for the German Government, championed mass production, standardisation and an affordable, democratic art; Van de Velde thought mass production threatened creativity and individuality.

The movement was associated with socialist ideas in the persons of Morris, Crane and Ashbee. Morris eventually spent more of his time on socialist propaganda than on designing and making. Ashbee set up a utopian community of craftsmen.

Influences on later design

Widely exhibited in Europe, the Arts and Crafts movement's qualities of simplicity and honest use of materials inspired designers like Henry van de Velde and movements such as Art Nouveau, the Dutch De Stijl group, Vienna Secession, and eventually the Bauhaus. Pevsner regarded the movement as a prelude to Modernism, which made use of simple forms without ornamentation.[21]

The Irish Arts and Crafts movement is represented by the Honan Chapel (1916) in Cork in the grounds of University College Cork.

In Russia, Viktor Hartmann, Viktor Vasnetsov and other artists associated with Abramtsevo Colony sought to revive the spirit and quality of medieval Russian decorative arts in the movement quite independent from that flourishing in Great Britain.

The Wiener Werkstätte, founded in 1903 by Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser, played an independent role in the development of Modernism, with its Wiener Werkstätte Style.

In Japan, Soetsu Yanagi, creator of the Mingei movement promoting folk art in the 1920s, shared the contemporary Japanese interest in Morris and Ruskin and was influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement.[22]

The British Utility furniture of the 1940s was simple in design and derived from Arts and Crafts principles.[26] Gordon Russell, chairman of the Utility Furniture Design Panel, manufactured in the Coltswolds, which had become a center of Arts and Crafts furniture when Ashbee moved there.

Arts and Crafts buildings in Australia and New Zealand

Examples

Leading practitioners

References

  1. ^ Roger Dixon and Stephan Mathesius, Victorian Architecture, London: Thames and Hudson, 1978 ISBN 0500181632
  2. ^ a b Triggs, Oscar Lovell (19009). Chapters in the History of the Arts and Crafts Movement. http://books.google.com/?id=1woOAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Chapters+in+the+History+of+the+Arts+and+Crafts+Movement#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d Campbell, Gordon (2006). The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195189483. 
  4. ^ Wendy Kaplan and Alan Crawford, The Arts & Crafts Movement in Europe & America: Design for the Modern World, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  5. ^ a b Brenda M. King, Silk and Empire
  6. ^ Moses N. Ikiugu and Elizabeth A. Ciaravino, Psychosocial Conceptual Practice models in Occupational Therapy
  7. ^ John Lewis and John Brinckley, Graphic Design, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954
  8. ^ a b c d "Victoria and Albert Museum". Vam.ac.uk. http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/british_galleries/bg_styles/Style09a/index.html. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Fiona McCarthy, William Morris, London: Faber and Faber, 1995 ISBN 0-571-17495-7
  10. ^ Parry, Linda, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement: A Sourcebook, New York, Portland House, 1989 ISBN 0517692600
  11. ^ "Crane, Walter, "Of the Arts and Crafts Movement", in ''Ideals In Art: Papers Theoretical Practical Critical'', George Bell & Sons, 1905". Chestofbooks.com. http://chestofbooks.com/arts/essays/Theoretical-Practical-Critical-Ideals/Of-The-Arts-And-Crafts-Movement-Part-4.html. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  12. ^ "Society of Designer Craftsmen". Society of Designer Craftsmen. http://www.societyofdesignercraftsmen.org.uk/. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  13. ^ "Utopia Britannica". Utopia Britannica. http://www.utopia-britannica.org.uk/pages/Ashbee.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  14. ^ "Court Barn Museum". Courtbarn.org.uk. http://www.courtbarn.org.uk/home. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  15. ^ Letter, Joseph Nuttgens, London Review of Books, 13 May 2010 p 4
  16. ^ "Morris & Co". William-morris.co.uk. http://www.william-morris.co.uk/. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  17. ^ Nicola Gordon Bowe, The Irish Arts and Crafts Movement (1886-1925), Irish Arts Review Yearbook, 1990-91), pp. 172-185
  18. ^ a b Nicola Gordon Bowe and Elizabeth Cumming, The Arts And Crafts Movements in Dublin and Edinburgh
  19. ^ "Metropolitan Museum of Art: Monica Obniski, "The Arts and Crafts Movement in America"". Metmuseum.org. 1972-02-20. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/acam/hd_acam.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  20. ^ a b Obniski.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g Nikolaus Pevsner, Pioneers of Modern Design, Yale University Press, 2005, ISBN 0300105711
  22. ^ a b Elisabeth Frolet, Nick Pearce, Soetsu Yanagi and Sori Yanagi, Mingei: The Living Tradition in Japanese Arts, Japan Folk Crafts Museum/Glasgow Museums, Japan: Kodashani International, 1991
  23. ^ Graeme Shankland, "William Morris - Designer", in Asa Briggs (ed.) William Morris: Selected Writings and Designs, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1980 ISBN 0-14-02-0521-7
  24. ^ William Morris, "Useful Work versus Useless Toil", in Asa Briggs (ed.) William Morris: Selected Writings and Designs, Harmondsworth: Pengin, 1980 ISBN 0-14-02-0521-7
  25. ^ Ashbee, C.R., A Few Chapters on Workshop Construction and Citizenship, London, 1894.
  26. ^ Designing Britain

Further reading

  • Boris, Eileen. Art and Labor, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986 ISBN 0-87722-384-X
  • Cathers, David M. Furniture of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. The New American Library, Inc., 1981. ISBN 0-453-00397-4
  • Cumming, Elizabeth, and Kaplan, Wendy, Arts & Crafts Movement, London: Thames & Hudson, 1991 ISBN 0-500-20248-6
  • Cumming, Elizabeth, Hand, Heart and Soul: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland, 2006, Birlinn ISBN 978-1841584195.
  • Kaplan, Wendy, The Art that Is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America 1875-1920. New York: Little Brown and Company, 1987
  • Parry, Linda, Textiles of the Arts and Crafts Movement, London: Thames and Hudson, 2005 ISBN 0-500-28536-5

External links


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