English group of artists, designers, architects and craftsmen formed in 1884. In 1883 five young assistants from R. Norman Shaw’s office formed the St George’s Art Society. The Society discussed its worries about the growing practical and ideological separation of art and architecture, and the indifference to their ideas for reform in architecture, shown by the official institutions such as the Royal Academy and the Royal Institute of British Architects. They soon realized that there was a need for a larger, broader society. In 1884 these same architects—Gerald Horsley (1862–1917), W. R. Lethaby, Mervyn Macartney (1853–1932), Ernest Newton and E. S. Prior—joined with another group, The Fifteen, led by Lewis F. Day and Walter Crane, to form the Art Workers’ Guild. The Guild actively promoted the theory of the interdependence of the arts, and its members were encouraged through lectures and discussion to understand each other’s profession. Designers, artists, architects and craftsmen were brought together as equals....
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....
(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 ...
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....
English family of furniture designers and artist-craftsmen. Ernest (1863–1926) and his brother Sidney (1865–1926) worked with Ernest Gimson in the design and construction of furniture in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Sidney’s son Edward (1900–87) carried on the business at a shop established in Froxfield (Petersfield, Hants) in ...
(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 ...
(b Nov 24, 1867; d Painswick, Glos, Feb 7, 1939).
English architect. He was articled to Wilson & Aldwinckle in 1883. In 1888, when he was sketching Abbeville Cathedral in France, he met John Ruskin and they toured Italy together. Ruskin persuaded Blow to give up his architectural training to learn about building, and in 1891 Blow was apprenticed to a working mason in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1892 he won the RIBA Pugin Scholarship, the same year that he was elected to the Art Workers’ Guild.
In 1897 Blow acted as clerk of works for Ernest Gimson in the construction of Lea and Stoneywell cottages in Charnwood Forest, Leics. Built among rocky outcrops in hilly country, Stoneywell Cottage (1898) blends with its surroundings and is an extreme manifestation of the Arts and Crafts Movement style, which exerted considerable influence on Blow.
In 1900 he built Happisburg Manor, Cromer, Norfolk, on a butterfly plan, a variation on the X-plan. This striking house, with gables, thatched roof and large chimneys, draws on the Arts and Crafts tradition of incorporating local building techniques and materials, in this case flint, used to form patterns. In ...
(b Leiden, Oct 19, 1877; d Zoeterwoude, Oct 23, 1933).
Dutch potter and sculptor. He trained as a drawing teacher but took a particular interest in bookbinding, decorative woodcuts and household pottery. From the example of the Arts and Crafts Movement he learnt the value of traditional techniques and craftsmanship. In 1898 he settled in Gouda in order to perfect his technical knowledge of pottery-making. Three years later he started his own ceramics firm in Leiderdorp. His ceramics are characterized by their intentionally plain shapes, combined with mostly geometric linear ornament and frequently with sculptural decoration applied in low relief. His work attracted international attention and gained awards at several exhibitions, including the Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa in Turin (1902) and the Exposition Universelle et Internationale in Brussels (1910). Around 1907 Brouwer began to experiment with large-scale ceramic decoration. His terracotta ornaments and façade sculptures were greatly admired by contemporary architects, who secured him important commissions in this field, for example the ...
(b Ellisburg, NY, 1859; d Burlingame, CA, Jan 21, 1896).
American architect. Despite his tragically brief career and six Neo-classical buildings, A. Page Brown will be remembered for his Ferry Building, the centerpiece of San Francisco’s waterfront; that city’s Swedenborgian Church with its Mission-style chairs, both icons of the American Arts and Crafts Movement; and his Mission-style California building for the 1893 Chicago Exposition, a structure that helped establish Mission and Mediterranean styles as appropriate for both domestic and commercial designs throughout the Southwest.
After briefly attending Cornell University, Brown spent three years with the New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White. By December 1884, after two years studying European architecture, he opened his own New York practice. Commissions in San Francisco from the Crocker family in 1889 led him to open a West Coast office. He supervised the completion of the first Grace Cathedral (1890, replaced), designed the city’s second skyscraper and, in February 1892, his Mission Revival style design won the competition for the California State Building for the ...
(b Pensford, Somerset, Mar 24, 1864; d Toorak, Victoria, May 31, 1949).
Australian architect of English birth. Articled in Barnstaple to Alexander Lauder (1880–84), Butler moved to J. D. Sedding’s office in London in 1885, also travelling and sketching widely in Britain and Europe. In 1888 Butler emigrated to Melbourne, initially in partnership with Beverley Ussher (1868–1908) from 1889–95 and successively George Inskip (fl 1879–1913) from 1896–1905, Ernest R. Bradshaw from 1907–16, his nephew Richard Butler from 1916–36, Marcus Martin from 1926–31 and Hugh Pettit from 1926–39. He was the most important direct link with the English Arts and Crafts movement at the time of his arrival and he soon secured many domestic commissions for wealthy clients, which comprise the major portion of his work. Notable elements of his work include prominent Dutch gables and half-timbered gables, sweeping parapets, the widespread adoption of bay windows, the use of rough cast and brick and also sweeping rooflines in Marseilles tiles; some of the plans were unconventional, with diagonally-placed wings. Later, Butler occasionally moved to a refined classicism and had a long interest in the art of landscape design and urban planning. His ‘Melbourne Mansions’ (...
Style rooted in 19th-century antiquarian studies of ancient Celtic art in Britain and Ireland. It was a mainly decorative style and first appeared in the 1840s, remaining fashionable from the 1890s to c. 1914 and lingering on through the 1920s. Derived from the complex, intertwining, linear motifs of ancient Celtic ornament, it was employed in metalwork, jewellery, embroidery, wall decoration, wood inlay, stone-carving and textiles. The Celtic Revival was closely related to the English Arts and Crafts Movement’s aim of social and artistic reform and was part of the general upsurge of Romantic interest in the Middle Ages. Its chief characteristics were raised bosses, tightly enmeshed roundels and bands of sinuous, criss-crossing lines, similar to but more abstract than Art Nouveau designs. Sources of inspiration were such Celtic antiquities as the Tara Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice (both 8th century
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 ...
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 (...
(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 (...
English school of furniture design. In 1892 Ernest Gimson and Ernest and Sidney Barnsley moved from London to the Cotswolds, where they made such Arts and Crafts furniture as rush-seated, ladder-backed chairs, plain oak pieces and more elaborate inlaid cabinets. They were joined in 1902 by C(harles) R(obert) Ashbee, who moved the workshops of the Guild of Handicraft to Chipping Campden, Glos. In ...
(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 ...
(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 ...
(b Leicester, Dec 21, 1864; d Sapperton, nr Cirencester, Aug 12, 1919).
English architect and furniture-maker. From 1881 to 1886 he was an architectural apprentice to Isaac Barradale in Leicester, studying in the same period at Leicester School of Art. On the suggestion of William Morris, whom he heard lecture to the Secular Society in Leicester, Gimson moved to London and became articled to J. D. Sedding. While in London he met W. R. Lethaby, Ernest Barnsley and his brother Sidney Barnsley (1865–1926), fellow architectural students who shared an interest in traditional craftsmanship and furniture design. He also served on the committees of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. As a member of the Art Workers’ Guild, he studied chair-making with Philip Clissett (1817–1913) at Bosbury, near Ledbury, and plastering with the London firm of Whitcombe and Priestley; examples of his plasterwork can be seen at Avon Tyrell, Christchurch, Hants (...
Term denoting the style of works of art produced in Glasgow from c. 1890 to c. 1920 and particularly associated with Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Herbert MacNair and the Macdonald family sisters, Frances and Margaret. The style originated at the Glasgow School of Art, where Francis H. Newbery (1853–1946) became director in 1885. Influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, Newbery had a commitment to excellence in art that combined functionalism with beauty while encouraging individuality and experimentation among his students. Within three years he had brought in the Century Guild of Artists’ chief metalworker, William Kellock Brown (1856–1934), to teach modelling and metalwork at the School. Kellock Brown had an intimate understanding of A. H. Mackmurdo’s approach to art, as articulated in the journal The Hobby Horse (launched in spring 1884), which voiced a desire for the unification of the old with the new and for an artistic relationship between abstract lines and masses that would reflect the harmonious whole found in nature. The development of the style was given further impetus by the fact that ...
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 ...