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John Mawer

(b Bodiam, E. Sussex, Feb 17, 1849; d London, Aug 21, 1930).

English designer. He was educated at Marlborough College and New College, Oxford, where he studied drawing under John Ruskin. Although he took Holy Orders in 1873, he continued to practise as a designer and eventually gave up his clerical duties in 1882, the year in which Arthur Mackmurdo founded the Century Guild of Artists, London. In 1883 Mackmurdo and Image opened the Century Guild Workshops. Image painted panels and inscriptions and designed inlaid decoration for furniture made by the Guild and also produced the title-page woodcut for its magazine The Hobby Horse, first published in 1884, which he co-edited from 1886 to 1892. The Guild itself was dissolved in 1888. He undertook design commissions in several fields—stained glass, typography, mosaic and embroidery (for the Royal School of Needlework). He also became active within the Art Workers’ Guild, London, of which he became master in 1900. In the same year he began working for the Glasgow furniture manufacturers ...

Article

Peter Stansky

(b Walthamstow [now in London], March 24, 1834; d London, Oct 3, 1896).

English designer, writer and activist. His importance as both a designer and propagandist for the arts cannot easily be overestimated, and his influence has continued to be felt throughout the 20th century. He was a committed Socialist whose aim was that, as in the Middle Ages, art should be for the people and by the people, a view expressed in several of his writings. After abandoning his training as an architect, he studied painting among members of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1861 he founded his own firm, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (from 1875 Morris & Co.), which produced stained glass, furniture, wallpaper and fabrics (see §3 below). Morris’s interests constantly led him into new activities such as his last enterprise, the Kelmscott Press (see §5 below). In 1950 his home at Walthamstow became the William Morris Gallery. The William Morris Society was founded in 1956, and it publishes a biannual journal and quarterly newsletter....

Article

(b Paisley, Renfrewshire, 1864; d Corfe Castle, Dorset, 1948).

Scottish embroiderer and designer. She was the eldest child of William Rowat, a successful shawl manufacturer, and was educated in Paisley and Edinburgh. In 1882 she visited Italy where she was impressed by the mosaics at Ravenna and by peasant craftwork. On her return she attended the Glasgow School of Art, where she studied life drawing and anatomy, later taking a design course in stained glass and textiles. In 1889 she married the school’s principal, Francis H. Newbery (1853–1946), and in 1894 began giving embroidery classes that laid the foundation of the department whose innovative work won international acclaim.

Newbery rebelled against the over-elaborate, stereotyped, poorly designed embroidery predominant at the time, preferring instead to encourage originality and individuality. She stressed that the quality of embroidery was not dependent on intricate stitches and laborious execution: ‘I try to make the most appearance with least effort, but insist that what work is ventured on is as perfect as it may be’ (Gleeson White, p. 48). She believed that embroidery should be an art form available to all social classes: because it was as effective on cheap fabrics, such as linen and calico, as on silks and velvets, it was appropriate for utilitarian as well as decorative items. Most of her embroidery was applied to practical items such as furnishings, collars and belts. As a result of her teaching, embroidery was seen as a specialist subject linked to the other arts....

Article

Donna Corbin

(b Munich, June 20, 1868; d Munich, April 13, 1957).

German designer, architect and painter. The son of a textile manufacturer, he studied painting at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Munich (1888–90); he painted primarily at the beginning and end of his career, and he was a member of the Munich Secession. In 1895 Riemerschmid designed his first furniture, in a neo-Gothic style, for his and his wife’s flat on Hildegardstrasse in Munich. In 1897 he exhibited furniture and paintings at the seventh Internationale Kunstausstellung held at the Glaspalast in Munich. Immediately following the exhibition, the committee members of the decorative arts section, including Riemerschmid and Hermann Obrist, founded the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk. In 1898 Riemerschmid was commissioned to design a music room for the Munich piano manufacturer J. Mayer & Co., which was subsequently exhibited at the Deutsche Kunstausstellung exhibition in Dresden in 1899. The armchair and side chair, with its diagonal bracing, designed for this room, are some of his most original and best-known designs. In ...