The Arts and Crafts style emerged from the attempt to reform design and decoration in mid 19th century Britain. The architecture of the Arts and Crafts Movement was its most radical and influential aspect, and architects such as Webb, Voysey, M. H. Baillie Scott (1865-1945), Norman Shaw (1831-1912) and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, developed principles which not only influenced 19th century architecture but would later become the touchstones of twentieth-century architects.
The American Arts and Crafts movement was inextricably linked to the British movement and closely aligned with the work of William Morris and the second generation of architect-designers, including Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942), who toured the United States, and Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857-1941), whose work was known through important publications such as The Studio.
Today the house retains many of its original features including furniture by Morris and Philip Webb, ceiling paintings by Morris, wall-hangings designed by Morris and worked by himself and his wife Jane, furniture painted by Morris and Pre-Raphealite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and wall-paintings and stained- and painted glass designed by Edward Burne-Jones.
Artworks associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement Arts can be found in several of the best art museums in Europe and America, notably the Musee d’Orsay (Paris); the Tate Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the William Morris Gallery (all in London), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond).
While Price’s nod to the Gothic revival style was somewhat more historicist than the production by other American Arts and Crafts firms and appealed to elite tastes of the moment, the Rose Valley Shops were a bold attempt to realize the ideals of artistic handicraft, guild-derived systems of labor, and congenial rural living so central to the Arts and Crafts movement in America.
The British movement derived its philosophical underpinnings from two important sources: first, the designer A. W. N. Pugin (1812-1852), whose early writings promoting the Gothic Revival presaged English apprehension about industrialization, and second, theorist and art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900), who advocated medieval architecture as a model for honest craftsmanship and quality materials.
Morris argued that overly illusionistic representations in the decorative arts were deceptive and dishonest.” Accordingly, he argued that stylized or slightly abstracted nature-inspired motifs were preferable for textiles and wallpapers, highlighting the two-dimensionality of the surface while drawing attention to the artistic quality of the pattern.
It sounds severe, but Eastlake’s style was in fact quite lovingly created: careful craftsmanship, the honest use of materials, and a love for the wood grain—and for all of its ties to the past, Eastlake style delivers a glimpse and hint of the Modernism that was to come, and makes a perfect precursor to the quaint, rustic furniture of the Stickley brothers that was simultaneously brewing in the US.
The Arts and Crafts use of stained glass was popular in Ireland, with Harry Clarke the best-known artist and also with Evie Hone The architecture of the style is represented by the Honan Chapel (1916) in Cork in the grounds of University College Cork Other architects practicing in Ireland included Sir Edwin Lutyens (Heywood House in Co. Laois, Lambay Island and the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Dublin) and Frederick ‘Pa’ Hicks ( Malahide Castle estate buildings and round tower).
In southern Pennsylvania, the York Wall Paper Company offered several designs that echoed William Morris’s well-known wallpapers and textiles, while glass firms such as Gillinder and Sons in Philadelphia and the Dorflinger Glass Company in White Mills, Pennsylvania, produced works with organic ornament that would have fit well within an Arts and Crafts interior.
This trestle table, designed by William L. Price, illustrates the fine craftsmanship and beautiful forms produced by the Rose Valley arts colony outside Philadelphia. The Arts and Crafts movement encompassed other English guilds of architects and designers. His style would be definitively ‘out’ come 1895, but it served as an ideal conduit for Arts & Crafts style to take on an American identity, and the newly empowered American public would be forever changed.
Now, for the first time, author Michael Crow has carefully detailed 33 of Charles Limbert’s finest designs so that you can build this beautiful furniture yourself. These designers laid important groundwork for the area’s later Arts and Crafts activity. The great irony of Mission-style furniture is that even though the Arts and Crafts movement supposedly rejected mechanization, Stickley would used steam-powered or electric woodworking machines to get the wood ready for his pieces, which would then be hand-finished by his artisans.
Eventually, the Mission style was mass-produced just like its predecessors had been, and low-quality, slipshod items were soon found everywhere. They produced a line up of furniture designs that were a distinct breakaway from anything else the industrial era had offered. Beyond Philadelphia, a number of commercial firms responded to the growing American taste for the Arts and Crafts, although these tend to be less well-documented.
The Dorchester Arts and Crafts Society, organized in 1902, is composed of many enthusiastic workers, who not only do excellent work, but are becoming the center around which other smaller Massachusetts societies are focusing. His genius was to soften the hard lines and lighten the overall feel of the furniture so popular in his time. He learned all sides of the furniture business— design, production, and marketing.
In the face of mounting unease with the social and environmental impacts of industrialization, Arts and Crafts advocates sought to mobilize architecture and the decorative arts in the service of recovering what they saw as the disappearing premodern values of craftsmanship, artistic harmony, and cultural cohesion. Arts and Crafts designers also shared John Ruskin’s belief in the moral purpose of art.
Nonetheless, Priestman’s perspectives and other females’ perceptions of the history and goals of the Movement in early-twentieth-century America deserve as much consideration as the appraisals of no-less-subjective male commentators. Priestman’s examples are the Art Workers’ Guild, the Arts and Crafts Society (which she treats as an extension of the Guild’s activities associated with public exhibitions), and’ C. R. Ashbee’s Guild and School of Handicraft, particularly after the relocation from bustling London to the pastoral Cotswolds. They include St Martin’s House, whose style was inspired by the philosophy of arts and crafts movement and The Red House.
A unique Arts and Crafts Exhibition of special interest to the admirers of William Morris is held in Chicago, in the form of a Morris room, and is furnished with the products of Morris’s own establishment, and other articles conforming to his ideas. Hailed as the beginning of Modernism in the United States, Arts & Crafts interiors were in direct contrast to the preceding Victorian period of ornate decorative arts.
Architects and designers who contributed to the development of this style included Victor Horta , Hector Guimard (Click on Buildings and Subway in TOC on left), and Henry van de Velde. Part One of Priestman’s article deals largely with the ambitious agendas the English Movement: – it included reshaping aesthetic tastes, as well as political and social reforms. The Shaker principles of simplicity, honesty and humility were reflected in the crafts and furnishings they produced. It was a small book printing and binding company that became known for its outstanding examples of the book arts.
He never successfully overcame this problem, and most British Arts and Crafts items remained the luxury of the upper classes. As the arts and crafts movement took hold, other Massachusetts craftsmen and designers followed Bacon’s lead, often producing objects that were redolent of the colonial era that was so beloved by the state. In Russia, Viktor Hartmann , Viktor Vasnetsov , Yelena Polenova and other artists associated with Abramtsevo Colony sought to revive the quality of medieval Russian decorative arts quite independently from the movement in Great Britain.