Arts and crafts

The birth of the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain was the beginning of a change in how things were made from buildings to jewelry.

The Baby's Opera by Walter Crane c1900
The Baby’s Opera by Walter Crane c1900

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The Origins of the Movement

The founders of the Arts and Crafts Movement were some of the most important critics of the Industrial Revolution. The movement spread in the United Kingdom around 1860, along with the closely related Aesthetic Movement. The diffusion of the Arts & Crafts to the United States made it relevant until the 1920s. The Movement was named after the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, a group founded in London whose president was the artist and book illustrator Walter Crane.

I Saw Three Ships from Baby's Opera by Walter Crane c1900
I Saw Three Ships from Baby’s Opera by Walter Crane c1900

Image source: by crackdog

By 1860 a minority was disturbed by the level of craftsmanship in the Industrial Revolution and its mass-produced goods. Among them, there was the English reformer, poet, and designer William Morris. His firm of interior decorators and manufacturers, the “Morris and Company” wanted to rediscover the spirit and quality of medieval craftsmanship. They produced handcrafted metalworks, jewelry, furniture, and books. By the way, it could be considered a kind of democratic art.

Trellis (1862-1864)- William Morris

Image source: by NinaZed

25th Ickworth Wood & Craft Fair 2014
Arts and Crafts Furniture. 25th Ickworth Wood & Craft Fair 2014

Image source: by Dave Catchpole

Decorated matchbox
Decorated matchbox

Image source: by Elin B

Photo of William Morris in his fifties, old photo

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Architecture and its Features

This movement used primitive, vernacular forms focusing on the democratic and spiritual aspects of architecture, and it can be said that this took to the foundations of modernism. There are many examples of this style of buildings:

  • Red House, in Bexleyheath, London: it was projected in 1859 by Philip Webb. It features elements of the early Arts and Crafts style, with well-proportioned simple forms, wide porches, steep roofs, pointed window arches, brick fireplaces, and wooden patterns.
Red House
Red House, London (1859).

Image source: by stevecadman

Holy Trinity, Sloane Street, Chelsea.
Holy Trinity Church, London.

Image source: by amandabhslater

Holy TrinityLondon: it is one of the examples of the Arts and Crafts Movement’s churches. It was described by the poet John Betjeman as the ‘Cathedral of the Arts & Crafts Movement’. The project was from John Dando Sedding. He commissioned his colleagues in the Art Workers Guild to work on decorations and statuary in stone and metal.

Garden Design

 Goddards House and Garden, York, England.
Goddards House and Garden, York, England.

Image source: by Bob Cantwell

Goddards House and Garden is an Arts and Crafts house in Dringhouses, York, England. Noel Goddard Terry was the owner of this place. His family house was designed by Walter Brierly respecting the features of the Arts and Crafts movement, with designed by George Dillistone. These spaces were meant to create a warm atmosphere.

Hidcote Manor Garden (NT)
Hidcote Manor Garden

Image source: by Dave Catchpole

Hidcote Manor Garden  was projected in the 20th century by Lawrence Johnston. The garden in The Cotswolds is known for its several garden spots, limited by clipped hedges. Each one featured a wide variety of both common and exotic plants. The design had an important influence on the garden design of that period.

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