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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

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

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

Sally Mills

(b Markesan, WI, Oct 1, 1860; d San Francisco, CA, Feb 19, 1945).

American painter, designer, and teacher. First trained by his architect father, he worked as a freelance illustrator before deciding in 1885 to study painting in Paris. He spent about 15 months at the Académie Julian and exhibited at three Salons before returning to California in 1889. He soon began teaching at the California School of Design (now the San Francisco Art Institute) and in 1896 was promoted to Director. During his 16-year tenure, Mathews reformed the curriculum in line with academic practice in Paris and New York and exerted a powerful influence over hundreds of students. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, Mathews left the school, aligning himself with artists, architects, and businessmen eager to rebuild San Francisco. With his wife (and former student), Lucia Kleinhans Mathews (1870–1955), and a partner, John Zeile, he embarked on several ventures: the magazine Philopolis (1906–16) emphasized art and city planning; the Philopolis Press (...

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

(Maunoir)

(b Old Alresford, nr Winchester, Oct 14, 1853; d South Gorley, nr Fordingbridge, Hants, Dec 21, 1940).

English printmaker, designer and illustrator. He read law at Oxford, and though called to the Bar in 1876 he never practised law. Instead he exercised an innate gift for drawing and painting in watercolours, and by 1880 he was exhibiting at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. He published his first books of etchings, The Itchen Valley and The Avon, in 1881. An early friendship with W. A. S. Benson drew him into the Arts and Crafts circle where, over the next decade, he became one of its leading exponents, designing wallpapers, textiles, metalwork and furniture. He married Benson’s sister Agnes in 1883, and by 1886 the family were living in Kensington.

With Benson, Sumner founded the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in London (1887), and in 1893 with his help the Fitzroy Picture Society was formed, with the intention of making art more widely available. For the Fitzroy he made a series of posters. A greater legacy was his applied decoration of some 11 church interiors throughout England and Wales. For church walls Sumner revived ...

Article

Laura Suffield

(b Providence, RI, Feb 14, 1860; d Boston, MA, Dec 29, 1941).

American typographer, printer, and graphic designer. He was advertising manager and layout artist at the publishing house of Houghton, Mifflin & Co. before transferring to the firm’s printing works at the Riverside Press, where he worked until 1892. Updike’s first freelance commission, the design of a Book of Common Prayer (1892), was well received, and in 1893 he set up his own studio, initially with the idea of designing types but then as a printing press, the Merrymount Press. He commissioned a new type called Merrymount from Bertram Goodhue for use on a new Episcopalian Altar Book (Boston, 1896). Between 1893 and 1896 Updike produced c. 18 books before turning to printing them himself, assisted by John Bianchi (fl 1893–1947), his first typesetter and later his partner. The Merrymount Press undertook a wide range of work for publishers, book clubs, libraries, churches, and institutions. In ...

Article

Sjarel Ex

(b Zaandijk, May 28, 1885; d Wassenaar, Sept 27, 1977).

Dutch designer and typographer . After working in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement, he came into contact in 1917 with De Stijl, which fundamentally changed the course of his work. Through Vilmos Huszár and Jan Wils, he met H. P. Berlage, for whom he worked as a draughtsman, and international artists working in typographic design, such as Kurt Schwitters, El Lissitsky and Jan Tschichold. His international importance is based on typographical works, such as those he made between 1923 and 1930 for NKF, the Dutch cable works, and for PTT, the Dutch postal service. His advertisements, inspired by Dada, often used a wide range of typography and could be read as messages, poems or advertising slogans, while being appreciated simply as designs. Zwart was also active as an interior designer; his most successful work in this field was the kitchen (1938) that he designed for the ...