Arts and Crafts Style

The birth of the British Arts and Crafts movement marks the change in how things, from buildings to jewelry, were made. 

The Baby's Opera by Walter Crane z in 1900. Cover with various animals doing human actions: cow jumping over the moon, dog playing cello, etc.
The Baby’s Opera by Walter Crane 1900

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The Origins of the Movement

The founders of the Arts and Crafts Style 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. However, the diffusion of the Arts & Crafts to the United States made it relevant until the 1920s. The Movement gets its name from 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: A drawing of three women, each standing upon their own boat. One is playing a violin, while the other two are starring at the viewer.
I Saw Three Ships from Baby’s Opera by Walter Crane 1900

Image source: by crackdog

By 1860, a minority group deeply disturbed by the level of craftsmanship in the Industrial Revolution and its mass-produced goods, began the Arts and Crafts movement. Among them, there was the English reformer, poet, and designer William Morris. His company of interior decorators and manufacturers, the “Morris and Company,” wanted to rediscover the spirit and quality of medieval craftsmanship. Therefore, they produced handcrafted metal works, jewelry, furniture, and books. Additionally, Arts and Crafts Style was considered a kind of democratic art.

Trellis drawing with vines and big orange flowers. Moreover, there are four blue birds throughout the photo.
Trellis (1862-1864)- William Morris

Image source: by NinaZed

25th Ickworth Wood & Craft Fair 2014: A photo of a dinning room table set with three chairs and one table.
Arts and Crafts Furniture – 25th Ickworth Wood & Craft Fair – 2014

Image source: by Dave Catchpole

Decorated matchbox with big red flowers and green leaves.
Decorated matchbox

Image source: by Elin B

A photo of William Morris with his hand resting on his cheek. Moreover, he has a fairly scruffy beard and head  full of hair.
Photo of William Morris in his fifties

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Features of Arts and Craft Architecture

The movement used primitive, vernacular forms focusing on the democratic and spiritual aspects of architecture. Further, designers returned to the foundations of modernism. There are many examples of this style of building today:

  • Red House, in Bexleyheath, London: Created in 1859 by Philip Webb, this house 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: A photo of the deep brown estate with two trees along the front and mid-sized white panel windows.
Red House, London (1859).

Image source: by stevecadman

Holy Trinity, Sloane Street, Chelsea. A large orange and beige stripped church, with two towers around a center decorated with arched window.
Holy Trinity Church, London.

Image source: by amandabhslater

  • Holy Trinity, London: Described by the poet John Betjeman as the “Cathedral of the Arts & Crafts Movement.” John Dando Sedding designed the structure, yet 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. A large pond with plants is in the foreground of the photo, while the background is covered with a big house with rectangular windows displaced on the front of the house.
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, but Walter Brierly designed the house, respecting the features of the Arts and Crafts movement. Additionally, these spaces were meant to create a warm atmosphere.

Hidcote Manor Garden: A photo of the entrance with a black metal gate with two stone posts on either side. Moreover, the garden ahead has tall bushes and a stone path.
Hidcote Manor Garden

Image source: by Dave Catchpole

Lawrence Johnston created Hidcote Manor Garden, in the 20th century, which is known for its several garden spots, limited by clipped hedges. Each one features a wide variety of common and exotic plants. Further, the design had great influence on the garden design of the period.

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