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Term used to describe a movement of the 1870s and 1880s that manifested itself in the fine and decorative arts and architecture in Britain and subsequently in the USA. Reacting to what was seen as evidence of philistinism in art and design, it was characterized by the cult of the beautiful and an emphasis on the sheer pleasure to be derived from it. In painting there was a belief in the autonomy of art, the concept of Art for Art’s Sake, which originated in France as a literary movement and was introduced into Britain around 1860.

The Aesthetic Movement was championed by the writers and critics Walter Pater, Algernon Charles Swinburne and Oscar Wilde. In keeping with Pater’s theories, the artists associated with it painted pictures without narrative or significant subject-matter. Dante Gabriel Rossetti took his inspiration from Venetian art because of its emphasis on colour and the decorative. This resulted in a number of half-length paintings of female figures, such as the ...


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....


American, 19th century, male.

Born 1800, in Boston (Massachusetts); died 1842.

Painter, designer of ornamental architectural features, engraver, decorative designer. Portraits, landscapes, military subjects, seascapes, harbour views, scenes with figures. Decorative panels.

Charles Codman trained with John Ritto Pennimans as a painter and designer of ornamental architectural features, and settled in Portland in ...


Betzy Dinesen

Term applied to an architectural and interior design style prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the USA and Australia, countries formerly colonized by Britain. The style, used mostly for domestic architecture, was based on buildings of early colonial periods and had much in common with the contemporary Neo-Georgian tendency in Britain (e.g. Annie Longfellow Thorp House, 1887); later developments on the west coast of the USA drew on Spanish styles. It became popular in response to a reaction against the ornate eclecticism of late 19th-century architecture and the search for a new aesthetic: Colonial Revival was promoted as a ‘national’ style, rooted in the foundations of the nations and suited to their environment and culture. A similar stimulus produced revivals of colonial styles in other countries, such as South Africa, where the Cape Dutch style was revived in work by Herbert Baker around the end of the 19th century, and Brazil, where features of Portuguese colonial architecture appeared in the work of ...


Arnold Berke

(b Pittsburgh, PA, April 4, 1869; d Santa Fe, NM, January 8, 1958).

American architect and designer. Raised in St Paul, MN, Mary (Elizabeth Jane) Colter graduated in 1890 from the California School of Design in San Francisco, then taught mechanical drawing at a St Paul high school and contributed to local Arts and Crafts societies as lecturer and craftswoman. These pursuits nourished Colter’s love of Native American art and the Southwest, interests also fostered by her first professional projects—the interior of the Indian Building at the Santa Fe Railway’s Albuquerque station (1902) and the Grand Canyon’s Hopi House (1904), modeled on an Indian village. She completed both for her lifelong employer, the Fred Harvey Co., the famous purveyor of travel services, which hired her full-time in 1910.

Colter designed hotels, train stations, tourist attractions, restaurants and shops—at the Grand Canyon and along the Santa Fe line. She based her designs on Native American and Hispanic cultures and on the western landscape, and, through rigorous research, fashioned environments to charm the leisure traveler. The most dramatic is the Watchtower (...


Robert M. Craig

Early 20th-century American manifestation of the late 19th-century international Arts and Crafts Movement and similarly grounded on the ideas of John Ruskin and William Morris. The Craftsman Movement married Ruskin’s concept of an architectural morality with Morris’s ideal of art as quintessentially “doing a right thing well,” and called for artists to embrace the idea that the worth of an object is inherent in the pleasure in its making. Led in America by furniture maker Gustav(e) Stickley, the movement preached honesty in materials, elimination and simplification in design (as a reflection of a simpler life), and an integration of art and beauty into domestic life. A non-elitist craft of building embodying values of handiwork and “pleasure in labor” would result in a democratic architecture of good character available to the Everyman.

Stickley designed and manufactured furniture, and published designs for houses as appropriate settings for his honest and straightforward oak tables and chairs and built-in bookcases. He illustrated his work and point of view in ...


Marcus Whiffen

Late 19th-century style of American architecture and furniture. It owed its name to the furniture designs of Charles Locke Eastlake (see Eastlake family, §3), which became widely known because of his book Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and Other Details, first published in London in 1868 and in Boston, MA, in 1872. The book was an immediate success in the USA, and six more American editions appeared in the next eleven years. In the preface to the fourth English edition (1878), Eastlake wrote of his dismay at finding ‘American tradesmen continually advertising what they are pleased to call “Eastlake” furniture …for the taste of which I should be very sorry to be considered responsible’. Eastlake-style furniture of the 1870s by such firms as Mason & Hamlin was decorated profusely with heavily carved Gothic ornament, whereas Eastlake’s own furniture had decoration that was simpler and more sparingly applied to emphasize function....


Malka Simon


Platform, often enclosed, that lifts and lowers people and freight via a system of cables and motors. The development of the passenger elevator in the 19th century encouraged the spread of the Skyscraper, altering the profiles of American cities.

Lifts and hoists had been used since ancient times, but the danger posed by a snapped cable limited their practicality. In 1851, Elisha Graves Otis invented the elevator safety brake. He demonstrated it dramatically at the New York Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1854 by severing the elevator cable that held him aloft. Otis’s brake, together with his development of an independent power source for the elevator car, made commercial applications possible. The first commercial passenger elevator was installed in New York’s Haughtwout Building in 1857.

Elevators made buildings above five stories viable. Chicago and New York especially benefited from the new technology as their growth boomed in the late 19th century. With limited room to expand outward, they built upward instead, pioneering the distinctly American form of the skyscraper. Elevators, along with the steel frame and central heating systems, encouraged the proliferation of tall buildings. Constant refinements in lift technology made elevators feasible even in the highest towers. Steam power gave way to hydraulics and then electricity, cars moved increasingly faster and elevator operation ultimately became completely automated....


American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 30 October 1872, in Omaha (Nebraska).

Painter, engraver, decorative designer.

Edmond Ellis was also an architect. He decorated the interiors of public buildings, notably the Protestant episcopal church of Fordham, and private houses. He produced etchings.


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 ...


American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in Boston.

Born 15 April 1859, in Weymouth, USA; died 1936.

Painter, decorative designer. Genre scenes, architectural views, still-lifes, flowers.

Abbott Fuller Graves studied at the Institute of Technology in Boston and went to Paris where he was taught by Cormon, J.-P. Laurens and Gervais. He was an architect but specialised in painting, mainly decoration....


American, 19th century, male.

Born 1 August 1868, in New York; died 1941, in Lawrence.

Painter, architect. Frescoes, wall decorations.

James Monroe Hewlett was a member of the National Academy of Design in New York and the American Federation of Arts. He produced mural paintings for the Carnegie Technical Schools in Pittsburgh....


Gordon Campbell

(b 1835; d 1898).

German–American furniture manufacturer. Hunzinger emigrated to America in 1855, where, working in New York, he specialized in chairs, often constructed in novel forms. His designs reflect a passion for engineering and innovation, and a sense that design should be led by fabrication methods (e.g. decorative elements should be interchangeable); he was awarded some 30 patents for furniture inventions. After his death his business was run by his sons until the 1920s....


Sumpter Priddy

Also called marbling and graining, imitation painting was “the art of imitating the grain of various fancy woods and marbles” in paint (Whittock, p. 20). The practice was popular for decorating architecture from about 1700 through the early 20th century. After 1810, it was also fashionable for furniture. The first examples appeared about 1700 on the interior walls of major public buildings and in large private houses, where imitation painting tended to embody Baroque preferences for highly figured surfaces. Over time, marbling and graining spread across the social spectrum to include the middling classes, and evolved in style to reflect changing tastes.

The practice of imitation painting declined during the rational culture of mid-18th century America but experienced a resurgence after 1780, when excavations at the Roman towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii revealed painted interiors and spurred renewed interest in Classical culture among the educated. Painters attempted to imitate or allude to real wood, both in color and texture. Inspired by antiquity, imagery was generally reserved in character....


Gordon Campbell

(b 1855; d 1931).

American furniture designer and architect, active in England. He worked in the early 1880s for Philip Webb, and thereafter as the chief furniture designer for William Morris §3. His furniture for Morris & Co. in the 1880s and 1890s often uses historical decorative techniques, and is typically decorated with foliage patterns repeated in mirror images and so resembling a Morris textile design (e.g. secrétaire cabinet, ...


Mark Alan Hewitt

(b Philadelphia, PA, Feb 9, 1872; d Philadelphia, PA, Oct 30, 1938).

American architect and campus planner. Klauder was the son of Louis Klauder, a German-born furniture manufacturer, and Anna Caroline Koehler. He trained as an apprentice under the architect Theophilus P. Chandler from the age of 15, furthering his studies at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia. Between 1893 and 1900 he worked at a number of prominent Philadelphia firms before attaining the position of chief draftsman at Frank Miles Day & Brother (see under Frank Miles Day). He became a partner in 1910 and continued the firm under his own name after Day’s death in 1918.

Klauder teamed with the English-born Day to design some of the nation’s most influential and distinguished campus buildings during the heyday of university expansion in the early 20th century. Along with Cope & Stewardson, Day & Klauder may be credited with the invention of the Collegiate Gothic idiom in American architecture. Their early work at Princeton and Cornell universities set the standard for dormitory and classroom designs in the Ivy League. Klauder extended the Gothic idiom during the 1920s to incorporate elements of Art Deco abstraction and modern building technology. Klauder created campus plans for the University of Colorado (...


American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 5 March 1843, in Washington DC; died 5 April 1923, in New York.

Painter, watercolourist, decorative designer. Figures, portraits, genre scenes, interiors with figures, landscapes, architectural views.

George Willoughby Maynard was a student at the National Academy of Fine Arts in New York. He continued his artistic education in Florence, Rome and Antwerp....


Ronald R. McCarty

(b Benicia, CA, Dec 12, 1872; d Palm Beach, FL, Feb 5, 1933).

American architect, interior designer, city planner, and developer. Mizner specialized in Mediterranean Revival architecture in California, New York, and Florida during the early 20th century and founded Mizner Industries, Inc. Mizner was the second youngest son born to Lansing Bond Mizner and Ella Watson Mizner. His father was an accomplished lawyer, politician, and landowner, later becoming the American ambassador to five republics in Latin America that are now Guatemala, San Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica. Travelling internationally with his father, Addison became fluent in Spanish and was inspired by the 16th- and 17th-century Spanish architecture of Central America. After moving to San Francisco in 1890, he attended Boones University in Berkeley. He continued his education at the University of Salamanca in Spain in 1892–3. Returning to the USA he began his professional training in San Francisco as an apprentice draftsman in 1894 with the firm of Willis J. Polk, becoming a full partner with the firm in ...


Jean A. Follett

(b Boston, MA, 1842; d Boston, MA, 1910).

American architect, stained-glass designer, furniture designer, and photographer. Preston was the son of Jonathan Preston (1801–88), a successful builder in Boston. William completed a year’s study at the Lawrence Scientific School in Cambridge, MA (later incorporated into Harvard University), and then went to Paris where he enrolled briefly in the Atelier Douillard. He returned to Boston in 1861 to work with his father, with whom he remained in partnership until the latter’s death. William then practised independently until his own death.

Preston was a prolific architect, designing over 740 buildings in the course of a career spanning 50 years. His early work was in the French Renaissance style, as seen in his Boston Society of Natural History building (1861–4), a tripartite structure with its floor levels arranged to equate with the proportions of the base, shaft, and capital of a Classical column. It has monumental Corinthian columns and pilasters and a central pediment flanked by a balustraded parapet. He worked in a typically eclectic manner during the 1870s and became an extremely fine designer in the Queen Anne Revival style in the 1880s and early 1890s. The varied massing, stained-glass windows, terracotta, moulded brick, and carved-wood detail of the John D. Sturtevant House (...


revised by Margaret Barlow

A renewed interest among artists, writers, and collectors between c. 1820 and 1870 in Europe, predominantly in France, in the Rococo style in painting, the decorative arts, architecture, and sculpture. The revival of the Rococo served diverse social needs. As capitalism and middle-class democracy triumphed decisively in politics and the economy, the affluent and well-born put increasing value on the aristocratic culture of the previous century: its arts, manners and costumes, and luxury goods.

Among the earliest artists in the 19th century to appreciate and emulate 18th-century art were Jules-Robert Auguste (1789–1830), R. P. Bonington, Eugène Delacroix, and Paul Huet. For these young artists the Rococo was a celebration of sensual and sexual pleasure and a product of a free and poetic imagination. Looking particularly at the work of Watteau, they sought to reproduce the Rococo capacity for lyrical grace, its sophisticated understanding of colour, and its open, vibrant paint surfaces in their work. These qualities can be seen in such re-creations of 18th-century scenes as Eugène Lami’s ...