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Article

Mark Firth and Louis Skoler

Silvery white metal. The third most abundant element in the earth’s crust (after oxygen and silicon), aluminium is found only in the form of its compounds, such as alumina or aluminium oxide. Its name is derived from alumen, the Latin name for alum, and in the 18th century the French word alumine was proposed for the oxide of the metal, then undiscovered. The name aluminium was adopted in the early 19th century and is used world-wide except in the USA, where the spelling is aluminum, and in Italy where alluminio is used. Following the discovery of processes for separating the metal from the oxide, at first experimentally in 1825, then commercially in 1854 and industrially in 1886–8, aluminium rapidly came to be valued as an adaptable material with both functional and decorative properties. Thus in addition to being used in engineering, transport, industrial design and household products, it was also widely adopted in architecture, sculpture and the decorative arts....

Article

Michèle Lavallée

[Fr.: ‘new art’]

Decorative style of the late 19th century and the early 20th that flourished principally in Europe and the USA. Although it influenced painting and sculpture, its chief manifestations were in architecture and the decorative and graphic arts, the aspects on which this survey concentrates. It is characterized by sinuous, asymmetrical lines based on organic forms; in a broader sense it encompasses the geometrical and more abstract patterns and rhythms that were evolved as part of the general reaction to 19th-century historicism. There are wide variations in the style according to where it appeared and the materials that were employed.

Art Nouveau has been held to have had its beginnings in 1894 or 1895. A more appropriate date would be 1884, the year the progressive group Les XX was founded in Belgium, and the term was used in the periodical that supported it, Art Moderne: ‘we are believers in Art Nouveau’. The origin of the name is usually attributed to ...

Article

Alan Crawford

Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsman, and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself.

The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs, and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. Although quixotic in its anti-industrialism, it was not unique; indeed it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism, and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life....

Article

Alan Crawford

(b Isleworth, Middx, May 17, 1863; d Godden Green, Kent, May 23, 1942).

English designer, writer, architect and social reformer . He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge. As a young man he was deeply influenced by the teachings of John Ruskin and William Morris, and particularly by their vision of creative workmanship in the Middle Ages; such a vision made work in modern times seem like mechanical drudgery. Ashbee played many parts and might be thought a dilettante; but his purpose was always to give a practical expression to what he had learnt from Ruskin and Morris. An intense and rather isolated figure, he found security in a life dedicated to making the world a better place.

In 1888, while he was training to be an architect in the office of G. F. Bodley and Thomas Garner (1839–1906), Ashbee set up the Guild and School of Handicraft in the East End of London. The School lasted only until 1895, but the Guild, a craft workshop that combined the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement with a romantic, apolitical socialism, was to be the focus of Ashbee’s work for the next 20 years. There were five guildsmen at first, making furniture and base metalwork. In ...

Article

Margot Gayle

revised by Carol Gayle

(b Badger’s Island, Portsmouth, NH, Oct 15, 1806; d Brooklyn, New York, Nov 17, 1884).

American iron manufacturer and builder in cast iron. Beginning as a blacksmith’s apprentice, he was in Boston by 1830 making decorative wrought ironwork at his own smithy. In 1842 he built Boston’s first example of an iron-fronted shop, a one-storey combination of iron columns and lintels that allowed large glass display windows. The following year he began producing rolling security shutters that fitted into grooves in the iron columns, having bought the patent from Arthur L. Johnson (1800–60). The ‘Badger front’ design was sold and copied across the USA, winning a gold medal at the American Institute Fair (1847).

In 1846 Badger moved to New York City, where he continued to manufacture his ‘fronts’. Soon afterwards he began producing the new form of iron building, commonly called ‘cast-iron architecture’, promoted by James Bogardus: structures with self-supporting, multi-storey exterior iron walls, constructed of cast-iron panels and columns bolted together. From ...

Article

Belgian, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 8 September 1768, in Namur; died 10 June 1826.

Architect, sculptor, engraver, metal worker.

Barbier studied first in Belgium before completing his studies in Antwerp at the studio of J. Verbekt. He was appointed sculptor of the king's buildings and lived for a time at the Louvre. His works include medallions of ...

Article

Philip Davies

(b Bo’ness, 1866; d Edinburgh, Feb 23, 1937).

Scottish architect, active in India. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and Royal Academy Schools. At the RIBA he was a Silver Medallist (1894). After a period articled to Hippolyte Blanc (1844–1917), he worked with Alfred Waterhouse and R. W. Edis before going to South Africa as architect to the Real Estate Corporation. In 1901 he became Consulting Architect to the Government of Bombay, before succeeding James Ransome (1865–1944) as Consulting Architect to the Government of India in 1908, the first to be employed outside the ranks of the Public Works Department engineers. He remained in this post until 1921.

He was proficient in a wide variety of styles. He designed barracks and housing for the new cantonment at Delhi and devised a standardized design for the Post and Telegraph departments, of which the Nagpur Post Office and Agra Post Office (1913...

Article

German, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 14 April 1868, in Hamburg; died 27 February 1940, in Berlin.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, architect, designer, decorative artist, graphic designer. Posters, furniture, wallpaper, carpets, glassware, ceramics, table services, jewellery, silverwork, objets d'art, typefaces.

Jugendstil, functional school.

Die Sieben (Group of Seven), Deutscher Werkbund...

Article

(b London, Oct 17, 1854; d Manorbier, Dyfed, July 5, 1924).

English designer. He was educated at Winchester and Oxford, and in 1877 he was articled to the architect Basil Champneys. Encouraged by William Morris, in 1880 Benson set up his own workshop in Hammersmith specializing in metalwork. Two years later he established a foundry at Chiswick, a showroom in Kensington and a new factory at Hammersmith (all in London), equipped with machinery to mass-produce a wide range of forms, such as kettles, vases, tables, dishes and firescreens. Benson’s elegant and spare designs were admired for their modernity and minimal use of ornament. He is best known for his lamps and lighting fixtures, mostly in copper and bronze, which are fitted with flat reflective surfaces (e.g. c. 1890; London, V&A). These items were displayed in S. Bing’s Maison de l’Art Nouveau, Paris, and were used in the Morris & Co. interiors at Wightwick Manor, W. Midlands (NT), and Standen, East Grinstead, W. Sussex. Many of Benson’s designs were patented, including those for jacketed vessels, which keep hot or cold liquids at a constant temperature, and for a ‘Colander’ teapot with a button mechanism for raising the tea leaves after the tea has infused. Benson sold his designs, labelled ‘Art Metal’, through his showroom on Bond Street, which opened in ...

Article

Swiss, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in Germany.

Born 31 December 1849, in St Gall; died 1921, in Planegg.

Architect, painter, decorative designer, theorist. Designs (furniture/fabrics/metal objects/ceramics).

Jugendstil.

From 1868 to 1871 Hans Eduard von Berlepsch-Valendas was a student of architecture with Gottfried Sempers in Zurich. After graduating he abandoned architecture while he was living in Frankfurt, to go and train as a painter in Munich (...

Article

Margot Gayle and Carol Gayle

(b Catskill, NY, March 14, 1800; d New York, April 13, 1874).

American inventor, engineer, designer and manufacturer. He trained as a watchmaker’s apprentice in Catskill, NY, worked as an engraver in Savannah, GA and again in Catskill. About 1830 he moved to New York City to promote his inventions. He secured many patents for various devices, including clocks, an eversharp pencil, a dry gas meter and a meter for measuring fluids. His most remunerative invention was a widely useful grinding mill (first patented 1832), which provided steady income throughout his life. During years spent in England (1836–40) he was granted an English patent for a postage device and won £100 in a competition with his proposal for a pre-paid postal system. He also observed the extensive use of iron in the construction of British factories, bridges and large buildings. After a trip to Italy, he conceived the idea of erecting prefabricated multi-storey structures with cast-iron exterior walls that reproduced Classical and Renaissance architectural styles. Returning to New York in ...

Article

Italian, 19th century, male.

Born in Vicenza.

Sculptor, goldsmith, architect.

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1863, in Ars-sur-Moselle; died 1937, in Nancy, in 1913 according to some sources.

Sculptor (stone/marble/bronze), medallist, potter. Figures, architectural views. Monuments, low reliefs, statues, busts.

Art Nouveau.

School of Nancy.

Ernest Bussière exhibited in Paris at the Salon des Artistes Français, where he received an honourable mention in ...

Article

Stuart Evans

English group of painters, designers and craftsmen, active between c. 1883 and 1892. It was one of the earliest Arts and Crafts groups and initiated the practice of attributing designs to individual craftsmen, which became a firm principle of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Its platform was the ‘unity of the arts’, and its aim was ‘to render all branches of art the sphere, no longer of the businessman, but of the artist’. Although output was limited and sporadic, the group had considerable influence by exhibiting its products and publishing a quarterly magazine, the Century Guild Hobby Horse (1884–92). Perhaps 20 craftsmen in all were associated with the Guild, but the only members were A. H. Mackmurdo, Herbert Horne and Selwyn Image.

The Guild’s work was mainly domestic. It offered textiles, wallpapers, furniture, stained glass, metalwork, decorative painting and architectural design, all of which were displayed at the ...

Article

Term used to describe an antiquarian style popular in England from the 1830s to the 1860s, inspired by the Elizabethan style of the 16th century. Designs for Elizabethan-style furniture first appeared in Rudolf Ackermann’s Repository of Arts in 1817, although the style was not widely popular until the 1830s. The English architect most closely identified with the style was Anthony Salvin, who designed Harlaxton Manor, Lincs (1831–8). The entire vocabulary of gables, octagonal turrets, tall chimney-stacks, pinnacles, leaded-paned windows and heraldic ornament was used at Harlaxton, which was based on the Elizabethan E-plan. Salvin’s other notable works in this style include Mamhead (1828–33), Devon, and Scotney Castle (1835–43), Kent. Mentmore Towers (1851–4), Bucks, was designed by Joseph Paxton and George Henry Stokes for Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild (1818–74) and is possibly the most elaborate manifestation of the Elizabethan Revival style....

Article

Hans Ottomeyer

The name derives from the first French Empire under Napoleon I (see Bonaparte family, §1). The dates defining the period of the Empire historically (1804–14) and the duration of the style itself are at variance: the early phase, referred to by contemporaries as ‘le goût antique’, was a late form of Neo-classicism and became more developed as the chaos resulting from the French Revolution subsided c. 1797. The Directoire style and the Consulate style—terms similarly derived from political periods in France—were both part of the development of the Empire style.

The term was originally applied to architecture, but because Napoleon rejected the building of new castles and palaces as wasteful, the style was especially used in interior design and decoration, later being extended to other decorative arts and fashion. There was strong conscious allusion to the civilization of imperial Rome through the building forms and motifs used by the first Roman emperors, who pursued goals of internal peace and a new order together with an expansionist military policy, as did Napoleon. Personal taste and comfort became of secondary importance to the demonstration of wealth and power. The Empire style spread throughout Europe and acquired fresh impetus with the Napoleonic conquests....

Article

Damie Stillman

Architectural and decorative arts style that flourished in the USA from shortly after the acknowledgement of independence in the Treaty of Paris (1783) until c. 1820. The term is derived from the period surrounding the creation of the federal constitution in 1787 and was in use in a political sense by that year. Essentially it was a form of Neo-classicism, strongly influenced by manifestations of that style in England and, to a lesser extent, in France; but at times certain more conservative qualities inherited from the previous Colonial period are also present. The inspiration of European, and especially English, Neo-classical architecture was to be expected in a society grounded in that of 18th-century England; but an added impetus was the association often cited at the time between the fledgling American republic and the ancient Roman one.

Although a few indications of European Neo-classical influence are found in the American colonies before the Revolution began in ...

Article

Marie Jeannine Aquilino

(b Geneva, July 15, 1822; d Paris, Nov 30, 1892).

French painter. He studied metalwork with his father Jacques Galland, an accomplished goldsmith, until age 16. He then entered the studio of Henri Labrouste to study architecture. After two years of training, Labrouste encouraged him to pursue his interest in decorative painting under the direction of Michel-Martin Drolling. In 1843 the decorative painter Pierre-Luc-Charles Ciceri (1782–1868) hired Galland to assist with the painting of figures, flowers, garlands and fruit. He worked again with Labrouste, in 1848, on the decoration of the national festival, the Fête de la Concorde.

Galland received his first independent commission in 1851 from a rich Armenian to decorate the interior of his palace in Constantinople (destr.) built by a student of Labrouste, J. Mélick. After 18 months, he returned to France through Italy, stopping in Rome, Florence and Venice; sketches made during these travels record his serious study of Raphael and Veronese. In 1853...

Article

Bruce Tattersall

Term used to describe the diverse styles of architecture, interior decoration and decorative arts produced in Britain and Ireland during the reigns of George I (1714–27), George II (1727–60) and George III (1760–1820). What might more accurately be named the Georgian period is, on occasion, further subdivided into Early (1714–1730s), Mid (1740s–1750s) and Late (1760s–1790s) periods. The term Regency style is applied to works of the period c. 1790 to 1830 and refers generally to the period when George, Prince of Wales (later George IV), was Regent (1811–20).

In architecture and interior design, the dominant aesthetic in Britain during the Georgian period was derived from classicism, but it took many different forms. The English Baroque that was current at the beginning of the 18th century was replaced at first by what became known as Palladianism, introduced by c. 1715 and championed by ...

Article

French, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 1732 or 1745, in Bar-sur-Aube; died 1813 or 1814, in Paris.

Draughtsman, metal worker (bronze), designer of ornamental architectural features.

Pierre Joseph Désiré Gouthière was particularly famous as a designer of ornamental architectural features. He collaborated with Riesener and Clodion but also realised many of his own works, combining a keen sensibility with supreme virtuosity. His most famous work is the ...