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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

James D. Kornwolf

(b Ramsgate, Oct 23, 1865; d Brighton, Feb 10, 1945).

English architect, interior designer, garden designer and writer . He was articled to Charles Davis (1827–1902), City Architect of Bath, from 1886 until 1889 but learnt little and was largely self-taught. In 1889 he started his own practice on the Isle of Man, where he built a number of buildings, including his own Red House, Douglas (1893). He was a leading member of the second-generation Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and was among the first to build on the simpler, more abstract and stylized designs of C. F. A. Voysey, a refinement of the ideas of William Morris, Philip Webb, R. Norman Shaw and others from the period 1860–90. From about 1890 until World War I, the Arts and Crafts Movement, as represented by Baillie Scott, Voysey, C. R. Ashbee, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Parker & Unwin and others, became the most important international force in architecture, interior design, landscape and urban planning. The work of these architects influenced Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann in Austria, Joseph Maria Olbrich and Peter Behrens in Germany, Eliel Saarinen and others in Scandinavia, and Frank Lloyd Wright, Irving Gill, Greene & Greene in the USA....

Article

Henry James Bartlett-Ellis

(b Alnwick, Northumb., Dec 2, 1840; d London, Sept 7, 1922).

English bookbinder and writer. Between 1859 and 1863 he attended Owens College (now Victoria University of Manchester). He then read classics at Trinity College, Cambridge University, and later studied law there. He was called to the Bar in 1871 and was immediately commissioned to work for the London & North Western Railway. Becoming ill through overwork, he was sent in 1881 to recuperate in Siena, where he met the suffragette Anne Cobden (d 1926). He married her in 1882, taking her surname as part of his. Their exchange of enlightened ideas led him to consider a more satisfying way of life, and in 1883 he responded to the suggestion of Jane Morris, William Morris’s wife, that he pursue bookbinding in London. He became an apprentice to Roger de Coverly and in 1887 won the Society of Arts prize. Although Cobden-Sanderson was close to Morris and was influenced by him, he disagreed with the aesthetic realized in the books produced by Morris’s Kelmscott Press (...

Article

Christopher Newall

(b Liverpool, Aug 15, 1845; d Horsham, W. Sussex, March 14, 1915).

English painter, illustrator, designer, writer and teacher. He showed artistic inclinations as a boy and was encouraged to draw by his father, the portrait painter and miniaturist Thomas Crane (1808–59). A series of illustrations to Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott (Cambridge, MA, Harvard U., Houghton Lib.) was shown first to Ruskin, who praised the use of colour, and then to the engraver William James Linton, to whom Crane was apprenticed in 1859. From 1859 to 1862 Crane learnt a technique of exact and economical draughtsmanship on woodblocks. His early illustrative works included vignette wood-engravings for John R. Capel Wise’s The New Forest: Its History and its Scenery (1862).

During the mid-1860s Crane evolved his own style of children’s book illustration. These so-called ‘toy books’, printed in colour by Edmund Evans, included The History of Jenny Wren and The Fairy Ship. Crane introduced new levels of artistic sophistication to the art of illustration: after ...

Article

Stephen Stuart-Smith

(Rowton)

(b Brighton, Feb 22, 1882; d Harefield, Middx [now in London], Nov 17, 1940).

English sculptor, letter-cutter, typographic designer, calligrapher, engraver, writer and teacher. He received a traditional training at Chichester Technical and Art School (1897–1900), where he first developed an interest in lettering. He also became fascinated by the Anglo-Saxon and Norman stone-carvings in Chichester Cathedral. In 1900 Gill moved to London to become a pupil of William Douglas Caröe (1857–1938), architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He took classes in practical masonry at Westminster Institute and in writing and illuminating at the Central School of Art and Design, where he was deeply influenced by the calligrapher Edward Johnston. Johnston’s meticulous training was to be a perfect preparation for Gill’s first commissions for three-dimensional inscriptions in stone, the foundation stone for Caröe’s St Barnabas and St James the Greater in Walthamstow, London, and the lettering for the lychgate at Charles Harrison Townsend’s St Mary’s, Great Warley, Essex. Further commissions followed after Gill left Caröe in ...

Article

Phillip Dennis Cate

(b Lausanne, May 25, 1841; d Paris, Oct 23, 1917).

French illustrator, decorative artist and printmaker of Swiss birth. Before arriving in Paris in the autumn of 1871, Grasset had been apprenticed to an architect, attended the Polytechnic in Zurich and travelled to Egypt. In Paris he found employment as a fabric designer and graphic ornamentalist, which culminated in his first important project, the illustrations for Histoire des quatre fils Aymon (1883). Grasset worked in collaboration with Charles Gillot, the inventor of photo-relief printing and an influential collector of Oriental and decorative arts, in the production of this major work of Art Nouveau book design and of colour photomechanical illustration. Grasset used a combination of medieval and Near Eastern decorative motifs to frame and embellish his illustrations, but most importantly he integrated text and imagery in an innovative manner which has had a lasting influence on book illustration.

In 1881 he was commissioned by Rodolphe Salis to design furnishing in a medieval style for the latter’s new Chat Noir cabaret in Montmartre. This project brought him in direct contact with Montmartre avant-garde artists such as Adolphe Willette, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Henri Rivière and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Grasset’s numerous posters include ...

Article

Margaret Wagstaff

(b London, Sept 3, 1872; d Knotty Green, Bucks, Nov 15, 1959).

English furniture designer and writer. He was educated at Marlborough College and the Slade School of Art, London, before following an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker from 1890 to 1893, when he joined the family firm, Heal & Son, established in 1810 in London by John Harris Heal (d 1833). By 1897 furniture was produced to his designs; in 1898 he became a partner, and his first catalogue, Plain Oak Furniture, was issued, which, like Simple Bedroom Furniture (1899), contains designs in a simple Arts and Crafts style. Heal exhibited regularly at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in London. His influence was evident in the catalogues and advertising of the firm (he had an enduring interest in typography), whose design policy he increasingly directed. In 1907 he was appointed Managing Director and in 1913 chairman. His inexpensive, stylish furniture was appropriate to the new garden-city developments, and in ...

Article

Luisa Morozzi

(Percy)

(b London, Feb 18, 1864; d Florence, April 14, 1916).

English collector, art historian, designer and architect. He joined the architectural practice of A(rthur) H(eygate) Mackmurdo as an associate in 1883 and was a partner from 1885 to 1890. Together they were leading members of the Century Guild of Artists (c. 1883–92). At this time he developed his skills as a graphic artist, creating designs for textiles, furniture and objects (e.g. London, William Morris Gal.), as well as decorative initial letters and elegant foliar and zoomorphic motifs that appeared in the Century Guild Hobby Horse magazine. The Horne–Mackmurdo partnership produced plans for Brewhouse Yard at Eton College and also for a series of houses in Uxbridge Road, London (both unexecuted). In 1889 Mrs Russell Gurney commissioned Horne to design the Chapel of the Ascension in Bayswater Road, London, decorated by Frederic Shields (destr. World War II).

The turning-point in Horne’s life and artistic development came when he was commissioned by the London publisher George Bell to write a monograph on Botticelli; for this reason he began making sporadic visits to Florence in ...

Article

Pamela Reekie Robertson

(b Bearsden, nr Glasgow, March 20, 1875; d Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, Aug 3, 1949).

Scottish illustrator, painter, designer and writer. She studied at Glasgow School of Art and taught book decoration there from 1899 to 1908. In 1908 King married the designer and painter Ernest Archibald Taylor (1874–1952) and moved to Manchester. They were in Paris from 1911 to 1915 and then in Kirkcudbright. One of the most successful and productive practitioners of the Glasgow style, she is best known for her book illustrations and covers. Designs are documented for over 130 publications. The most successful of these, such as an edition of William Morris’s The Defence of Guenevere (London, 1904), are delicate line drawings incorporating stylized figures and enriched with areas of intricate detail. These decorative works suggest an awareness of the work of Aubrey Beardsley, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as Sandro Botticelli and 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints. Her varied subject-matter included romantic legends, historic architecture and botanical studies. Following her contact in Paris with Léon Bakst’s ballet designs, and an introduction to batik printing, her style became more broadly handled and colourful. King also designed jewellery, silverware and fabrics for ...

Article

Kathy Niblett

(Howell)

(b Hong Kong, Jan 5, 1887; d St Ives, Cornwall, May 6, 1979).

English potter and writer. Until he was ten years old he lived in the Far East, which had a most powerful influence on his life and work. In 1903–4 he studied drawing with Henry Tonks at the Slade School of Art, London. He kept a death-bed promise to his father to train to work in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, but left after nine months and in 1908 he attended the London School of Art to learn etching with Frank Brangwyn. In 1909 he returned to Japan to teach etching and in 1911 was ‘seized with the desire’ to work in clay after attending a ‘raku yaki’ tea party, where he shared the instantaneous joy of Raku family pottery. He found a pottery teacher, Shigekichi Urano (1881–1923), who had become Kenzan VI c. 1900 (see Ogata family §(2)). After teaching him to pot, Kenzan built a kiln for Leach in ...

Article

Godfrey Rubens

(b Barnstaple, Jan 18, 1857; d London, July 17, 1931).

English architect, writer and designer. The son of a gilder who was a radical and lay preacher, in 1871 he was apprenticed to a local architect and painter, Alexander Lauder, who gave him a thorough training in the building crafts. In 1879 he was appointed chief clerk to Richard Norman Shaw, whose influence was already evident in Lethaby’s architectural drawings. He remained in this post for the next twelve years (the last two part-time), during which he became increasingly responsible for detailing Shaw’s work, and in doing so made an important contribution to his style (e.g. a chimney-piece of 1883 for Cragside, Rothbury, Northumb.). Lethaby’s independent design work up to the mid-1880s was in the Anglo-Dutch style of the 17th century, as for example in his unexecuted design for a silverware salad bowl, illustrated in The Architect (30 June 1883). About 1885 he began investigating the ways in which beliefs concerning the nature of the cosmos had influenced the forms of ancient architecture. This research resulted in a number of designs with complex and often esoteric iconography, such as his stained-glass window depicting the ...

Article

British, 19th century, male.

Born 24 March 1834, in Walthamstow (Essex); died 3 October 1896, at Kelmscott House, Hammersmith, London.

Painter, draughtsman, designer, typographer, poet, architect. Designs (furniture/wallpapers/fabrics/stained glass windows).

Symbolism, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau.

Pre-Raphaelite.

William Morris the son of a successful City of London bill-broker, grew up in Walthamstow, on the edge of Epping Forest, and was educated at Marlborough College, in Wiltshire....

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

Judith A. Neiswander

(b London, Nov 19, 1820; d London, Dec 2, 1902).

English designer, painter and writer. Born to an aristocratic family and educated at Eton College, Eton, Berks, and Christ Church, Oxford, he spent a brief period as an Anglican clergyman under the inspiration of the evangelical Oxford movement. In 1850 he designed and painted the ceiling of Merton College Chapel, Oxford (in situ), and shortly afterwards converted to Roman Catholicism. In 1854–6, while teaching at the Catholic University, Dublin, he designed and decorated the University Church in a richly ornamented Byzantine Revival style (see Newman, Cardinal John Henry). In Ireland he met Benjamin Woodward, architect of the Oxford Union Society, and through him became involved with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and other Pre-Raphaelite artists in painting the ill-fated wall frescoes (1857) in the Debating Hall (now the Old Library) that are now scarcely recognizable. Most of his domestic commissions evolved from his connections with the Catholic aristocracy, for example his decoration for the library of Blickling Hall, Alysham (...

Article

George E. Thomas

(b Wallingford, PA, Nov 1861; d Rose Valley, PA, Oct 15, 1916).

American architect, writer, and designer. Born into a Quaker family and trained in Quaker schools, he studied architecture in the office of Quaker Addison Hutton (1834–1916), and then in the office of Frank Furness, where he was exposed to the ideas that reshaped American modernism at the end of the century. For a time in the 1890s he was drawn to the historicism of Richard Morris Hunt, producing imposing Gothic piles for the children of the Philadelphia industrialists who had commissioned Furness’s ahistorical houses in the previous generation. By 1900, in response to the ideas of the utopian American economist Henry George (1839–97) and William Morris, Price founded two utopian communities: a Single-Tax colony at Arden (1896), DE, and an Arts and Crafts commune at Rose Valley (1901), PA, where he lived until his death. There he developed a regional domestic architectural style that incorporated stucco, local stone, and tile in gable-roofed houses that evoked the local agrarian architecture, but with an abstract directness resulting from the merger of modern form with traditional materials....

Article

Lynne Walker

(b Greenwich, nr London, Jan 4, 1852; d Chichester, Aug 19, 1932).

English architect and writer. The son of a barrister, he first attended Harrow School and then Cambridge, where he developed an interest in Gothic architecture that was stimulated by John Ruskin’s writings and by his own sketching tours to the churches of East Anglia. In 1874 he was articled to R. Norman Shaw, acting as clerk of works in 1878–9 at St Margaret’s church and at St John’s, a Shaw house, both Ilkley, W. Yorks. He went on sketching tours in England, Belgium and France, often in the company of fellow pupils and assistants, including W. R. Lethaby and Ernest Newton, with whom he founded St George’s Art Society in 1883. In 1884 he was a founder-member of the Art Workers’ Guild, the central metropolitan organization of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

In 1880 Prior set up his own practice, applying Shaw’s Old English and Queen Anne styles to houses such as High Grove (...

Article

Dinah Birch

(b London, Feb 8, 1819; d Brantwood, Cumbria, Jan 20, 1900).

English writer, draughtsman, painter and collector. He was one of the most influential voices in the art world of the 19th century. His early writings, eloquent in their advocation of J(oseph) M(allord) W(illiam) Turner and Pre-Raphaelitism and their enthusiasm for medieval Gothic, had a major impact on contemporary views of painting and architecture. His later and more controversial works focused attention on the relation between art and politics and were bitter in their condemnation of what he saw as the mechanistic materialism of his age.

Ruskin was the only child of prosperous Scottish parents living in London: his father was a wine merchant, his mother a spirited Evangelical devoted to her husband and son. Ruskin had a sequestered but happy childhood. He became an accomplished draughtsman (taught by Copley Fielding and James Duffield Harding) and acquired, through engravings encountered in Samuel Rogers’s poem Italy (1830), an early enthusiasm for Turner’s art. He was also an eager student of natural science, particularly geology. He travelled with his parents, seeing Venice for the first time in ...

Article

Jane Block and Paul Kruty

(b Antwerp, April 3, 1863; d Zurich, Oct 25, 1957).

Belgian designer, architect, painter, and writer. He was one of the leading figures in the creation of Art Nouveau in the 1890s.

From 1880 to 1883 Van de Velde studied at the Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp, exhibiting for the first time in 1882. In 1883 he was a founder-member of the art group Als Ik Kan, which fostered the position of the artist outside of the Salon. His earliest paintings, such as the Guitar-player (1883; Brussels, priv. col., see Canning, p. 100), are in a Realist vein with sombre tones. In October 1884 Van de Velde travelled to Paris. Although he entered the studio of the academic painter Carolus-Duran, where he remained until the spring of 1885, he was strongly attracted to the works of Jean-François Millet (ii). His works after his stay in Paris, such as Still-life with Fruit Dish (1886; Otterlo, Kröller-Müller), display the characteristic broken brushstroke of the Impressionists, although this style is often combined with subjects drawn from Millet, seen in the ...